Saturday, January 7, 2017


Robert made the statement that there are two men in the Scripture who stand surety:

  1. Judah stands surety for Benjamin in Genesis 44:30–34
  2. Christ stands surety "for the New Covenant" in Hebrews 7:22

We often think of Christ standing surety for us, and we remember how the Old Testament warns against that. "It goes ill with him that is surety for another" (Proverbs 11:15). So far as I can tell, Scripture only tells us about one Man who stood as Surety for a stranger (Proverbs 6:1–2), and certainly He suffered for it.

Judah tells Joseph what it means to stand surety for another:

And now, let thy servant stay, I pray thee, instead of the lad a bondman to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brethren; for how should I go up to my father if the lad were not with me?—lest I see the evil that would come on my father (Genesis 44:33–44).
He effectively says, "I am surety for Benjamin, and how can I face my father without him?".

It's not a stretch to consider Judah as a pattern for Christ. Judah's words to Joseph echo Christ's heart for us: He was not willing to return to His Father without taking us along.

This is the point He was making in John 6:37–40. The Father has given some to the Son (John 6:37), with the explicit desire that the Son shouldn't lose any of them (John 6:39). Christ effectively says to the people, "I am unwilling to face my Father without those He gave me, and even if they die, I will raise them from the dead (John 6:40) rather than facing my Father without them."

Now, I'm not saying that Christ doesn't love us, but in John 6:37–40 He doesn't appeal to His love for us. Rather, He appeals to His duty to His Father. Just like Judah doesn't once mention any affection for Benjamin, but his duty to his father Jacob.

It's worth remembering at the start of a new year that Christ isn't willing to face His Father without us. It's not an issue of what we've done, nor even of His love for us. Christ losing even one of us would be His failing to keep up His end of the deal with His Father.


Robert said...

Lovely thoughts to begin a new year.

HandWrittenWord said...

Worth remembering indeed! And also worth remembering that the New Covenant is not between God and man per se, but rather between the Father and the Son -- and by extension between the Father and those who are found in the Son.

Robert said...

I have just typed the phrase 'new covenant' into Strongs concordance and there is not one verse that relates the truth to the Father and the Som and by extension to those who are found in the Son!

Rodger said...

I, personally, would appreciate some discussion on this subject here. Most of what we hear seems to have come out of theology, rather than scripture.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the new covenant of the OT and NT pertain to Israel and not the heavenly Church?

HandWrittenWord said...

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.
And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:15-23)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Robert said...

Rodger, perhaps I could open up the conversation with some comments.

It is clear that the new covenant in its literal terms is made with the house of Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 33:31-34, Hebrews 8:8-12).

God does not bring the church under under the new covenant. Believers of this dispensation are in the fellowship of the the Father's family (1 John 1:7). We are also in the fellowship of the mystery as members of the body of Christ (Ephesians 3:6-11). The Father does not place His children under a covenant and Christ, the head of the church, does not place His body under a covenant!

But the church comes into the spiritual good of the new covenant because of its relationship to the Lord in glory (2 Corinthians 3:19), its enjoyment of the liberty of the Spirit(2 Corinthians 3:17) and the value of the sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 10:12-18).

As often is the case, The Christian friend has a helpful article for us to consider:

Anonymous said...

Are Christians Under a Covenant
Q. “M. A. W.” You ask for explanation as to the Covenant or Testament
(*4"2060) of Gal. 3:17, and Heb. 8, 9; and if we are under the new
covenant, or any covenant at all?
A. In Gal. 3:15-29, we have the relationship between law and promise
discussed as to how they stand one to another. Unconditional promise was
made of God to Abraham 430 years before the law, and law then coming in
with its conditions could not set aside the unconditional promises. Moreover,
in the law there were two parties and a mediator; in promise there was but one
-- God Himself, acting from Himself, and requiring no conditional terms. One
was a contract, the other was grace. Read Gal. 3:16 thus: “Now to Abraham
were the promises made (Gen. 12), and to his seed”; i.e., Christ risen, as
Isaac, in figure, raised from the dead (Gen. 22); where God ratified the
previously given covenant (Gen. 12, 15), by His oath, to which no conditions
were attached whatever. Gal. 3:17, “And this I say, the covenant previously
ratified by God to Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years
after, cannot disannul,” etc. The law was added, “for the sake of
transgressions,” but did not disannul the previous purpose of God, while
testing man.
There are really but two covenants in Scripture -- the old covenant and the
new. Still the word covenant is used in several places in connection with the
Lord, when it is but the enunciation of certain relationships into which He was
pleased to enter with man or the creature (Gen. 9:8-17, &c.), or to be
approached by him, but without conditions. The context must decide the
In Heb. 8, 9, He shows the setting aside of the old covenant, and the
introduction of a second, yet to be made with Judah and Israel. Meanwhile a
Mediator is introduced previous to the time when Israel and Judah are again
in the land. This Mediator has shed the blood necessary for its establishment,
but has not yet established it -- the party concerned not yet being under this
dealing of God; i.e., Israel and Judah. If Jer. 31:31-40 be read, where the new
covenant is enunciated, it will be seen that no mediator is named. Christ
having been rejected when He came to fulfil the promises made to the fathers,
sheds His blood and goes on high, and all direct dealings with Israel are
suspended, while all necessary for its ultimate establishment has been
accomplished. In Matt. 26:28, He says: “This is my blood of the new
covenant”; not, This is the new covenant, but the “the blood” of it. The
covenant itself has not yet been established.
Hence in Hebrews, while the writer shows the passing away of the old,
and introduction of the new, he never shows its application as a present thing.
The only two blessings of the new covenant which we get, as Christians, are
forgiveness of sins, and direct teaching from God. Christians are not under a
covenant in any wise. They have to do with the Mediator of it while hidden
in the heavens before He renews His relationship with Judah and Israel, to
whom alone the covenant pertains. See Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8-12.
Hence, too, in Heb. 9:15, he says: “For this cause he is the mediator of
the new covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the
transgressions that were under the first covenant, they which are called might
receive the promise of eternal inheritance”; not, the establishment of the new
covenant, but “eternal inheritance,” as having to do with the Mediator Himself
whose blood had been shed.
It is striking the way the writer avoids the application of the new covenant
to Christians while speaking of it with reference to Judah and Israel, and at the
same time appropriates to the former the two blessings which flow from it to
Heb. 9:16 and 17 are a parenthesis. They show that even in human things
a testament has no force as long as the testator lives. Death comes, and then
it is valid. It is the same word, but used distinctly in this sense.
F. G. Patterson, Words of Truth, vol. 4.
The Mystery and the Covenants 2

Rodger said...

Yes, I am quite with you, Robert. Jeremiah 31 seems plain as can be. I just have some difficulties in the details of the mentions in the New Testament. Perhaps we could go over them chronologically.

(What FGP mentions as to the application of the covenant has been to me one of the most convincing proofs that Christians are not under the new covenant. "The way in which the apostle always avoids the direct application of the new covenant is very striking." JND, Synopsis, volume 5, pg. 340 (Believers Bookshelf edition))

What is the significance of the Lord saying "For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins?"
(Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25) (And what is the difference of phrase in Luke 22 and 1 Corinthians 11?) Is there a significant difference between what the disciples heard on the occasion, and what we understand in looking back? That is, do we appreciate a greater scope of blessing based upon the worth of the shed blood of Christ, when we gather for the Lord's Supper, than they would have understood by the words "My blood of the new covenant"?

clumsy ox said...

I have tried several times to comment, but my comments evaporate into the ether. That might be a blessing.

I'm enjoying others' comments, though.

Rodger said...

Maybe this is a better way of expressing what I am asking: why did the Lord mention the new covenant in this context? And how does it carry over to our present-day remembrance of the Lord?

Rodger said...

I was looking forward to you weighing in, Mark.

Robert said...

I had problems commenting too, so tried to keep my remarks short. I believe that the blood of the covenant is where we find the overlap, and perhaps, the confusion between the church and Israel.

The new covenant is established because of the blood. It is the blood that makes the covenant possible. What distinguishes the new from the old covenant is that the past covenant was two sided but the new covenant is one sided. The old covenant said: 'Thou shalt; thou shalt not'. In the new covenant God says: 'I will'. Man does not need to keep any terms of the new covenant because it is established by the blood - this is the new covenant in my blood.

Israel in a future day will be brought into new covenant blessing when it understands the value of the blood - He was wounded for our transgressions etc

The church already understands the value of the blood today and so it therefore can enjoy here and now the spiritual aspects of the new covenant - 'your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more' Hebrews 10

With regards to the institution of the supper in Matthhew, Mark and Luke I would suggest that the Lord viewed the disciples as represenatatives of the nation of Israel. Whereas in John He viewed them as representatives of the church. John does not mention a loaf,a cup or a covenant. John also does not mention blood as it is the water of cleansing that is prominent in his account of the supper. He is concerned with spiritual condition rather than outward observance.

With regards to 1 Corinthians 11, I think the important difference is: 'in remembrance of Me'. The church does not meet to keep the covenant or to remember the covenant but to remember Him and show forth His death until He come.

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying and learning from this as well. Susan
Here's an article by Dan R. Smedra at on the subject:
The subject of Israel's New Covenant, and the erroneous notion of its relationship to the New Creation Christian and the Body of Christ--the Church, remains a hot topic in dispensational circles. Like the doctrine of the Fall, the subject of the "New Covenant" is a 'watershed' issue in both Christendom and among truly born-again Christians.

Slowly, growing believers are awakening to the serious negative consequences of believing that the Church is the direct, or even indirect, beneficiary of any of God's blessing via Israel's New Covenant. How has this confusion come about?

"People who claim to be serious about the Bible often expend a lot of energy talking about how it needs to be interpreted in context--but then turn around and filter it through their own traditions. The context for correctly understanding the Bible is not the Church Fathers. Biblical theology neither began nor ended with Augustine. It is also not the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformation, or modern evangelicalism. Rather, the correct context for interpreting the Bible is the context in which it was produced--the ancient Near East and Mediterranean." Michael Heiser

Church history is vague regarding how the last 27 books of the Canon became labeled as the "New Testament" or "New Covenant." But however it happened, it has misled born-again, evangelical Christians for centuries.

Had you lived in the ancient Near East, in Israel, during the period leading up to the coming of Jesus Christ, how would you have understood the promised "New Covenant"? Hear the words of Professor John W. Cooper, professor of theology at Calvin Theological Seminary (Covenant theology!).

"The Old Testament is resoundingly this-worldly. The fullest possible existence for a human being is to live an earthly life as God created it to be lived. Health, sufficient material goods, enjoyment of marriage and family, meaningful work, standing in the community, freedom from one’s enemies, and above all walking in integrity with the God of the covenant—the Israelite who enjoyed these blessings could exclaim, 'It doesn’t get any better than this!' When the prophets look forward to the eschatological future [New Covenant], they do not envision heaven for the individual. Their hope is for a New Jerusalem and a new earth, a place where the existence of the Lord’s people will again be what it was created to be in the beginning. Human life is tied to the earth."

It was John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), questionably considered by some the "father of dispensationalism", who initiated the major break with the traditions of Covenant theology—a theological system which had dominated since the time of Augustine and the Church Fathers. Darby saw the Church as a body of believers having a unique "heavenly" position, not an extension of God's earthly people, Israel.

Pioneer devotional writer/theologian Miles Stanford (self-identified "Pauline dispensationalist") wrote, "...the Reformed folk can't tolerate Darby, since he has exposed their covenant error better than anyone else. There has been none since Paul who could touch Darby when it comes to getting right at the core of error and laying it bare." Stanford wrote numerous "Position/Polemic Papers" during the decades of the '80s and '90s asserting that the New Covenant of both OT and NT pertained to Israel alone and not the heavenly Church.
to be continued.......

Anonymous said...


It was the American lawyer, C. I. Scofield (1843-1921), who purloined recovered truths from John Darby and created his seven dispensation schema—a mixture which drew heavily upon the covenant "age-ism" of Isaac Watts. Both the history and theological significance of Scofield upon American evangelicalism and his adverse influence upon the dispensational movement is extensively documented by the late Darbyist biographer, Roy A. Huebner (1931-2008). See Dispensational Truth, Volume 1. Huebner wasn't the first to question Scofield's so-called dispensational system and doctrines. American Bible expositor William R. Newell (1868-1956), who wrote the classic Romans: Verse By Verse, also raised several serious questions regarding Scofield's system.

Most recently, the question of whether the Church is, in part or in whole, heir to Israel's New Covenant, has been challenged by several scholars associated with various dispensational seminary and pastorates. In 2013, six men* who consider themselves "dispensational" in the American tradition published An Introduction To The New Covenant, Tyndale Press. This work goes to the heart of the error that has crippled Christianity for nearly two millennia.

*Gary Gilley, David Gunn, Don Trest, Christopher Cone, Charlie Clough, and George Gunn.

Note for Evangelical and Dispensational Historians:

There are many historical subtle nuances which are causing present day confusion. It was Lewis S. Chafer, founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, not Miles Stanford, who proposed a "2 New Covenants"—one for Israel and one for the Church. Walvoord and Ryrie initially followed that view, but abandoned it in the late 20th century. The Progressives made a big deal out of this abandonment.

Listen carefully to Chafer: “There remains to be recognized a heavenly covenant for the heavenly people, which is also styled like the preceding one for Israel a “new covenant.” It is made in the blood of Christ (cf. Mark 14:24) and continues in effect throughout this age, whereas the new covenant made with Israel happens to be future in its application. To suppose that these two covenants—one for Israel and one for the Church—are the same is to assume that there is a latitude of common interest between God’s purpose for Israel and His purpose for the Church.”

Stanford's "two covenant" view was always Single Covenant Israel Only (“SCIO”) together with the Eternal Covenant between the Father and Son of Hebrews 13: 20-21. This he got from William R. Newell, who likely got it from Darby, but I'm not sure. There is nothing incompatible between SCIO and the identification teaching clearly brought out by Miles Stanford.

Darby held to SCIO,...BUT...being Darby he used difficult and ambiguous language which unfortunately suggested that the Church was receiving "spiritual blessing" from SCIO. But that wasn't what Darby was attempting to communicate. What he meant, and clarified elsewhere, was that the Church's spiritual blessing were SIMILAR, in part, to the blessings that Israel would receive under their New Covenant in the future Millennium.

Roy Huebner attempted to clarify, but Miles Stanford (who was trapped in the Scofield system and thereby crippled) made the mistake of wrongly fingering Darby for the breach. In Stanford's polemic paper Progressive's Kingdom Church (not included in his book Pauline Dispensationalism) he wrote about Americanized dispensationalism:

"CLASSIC (TRADITIONAL) DISPENSATIONALISM -- From its inception, all the way back to Darby, Classic Dispensationalism:

1) Broke the scriptural barrier separating Israel and the Church by linking Israel's New Covenant 'spiritual' blessings with the Church.

2) Made OT prophecy to include the Church, thereby eliminating the mystery.

3) No longer viewed Paul as the initial, and primary, source of Church truth.

HandWrittenWord said...

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth into an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:11-22)

clumsy ox said...

It's helpful to remember both Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 37 introduce the New Covenant as coming after the reunification of Judah and Ephraim into a single nation. That makes the New Covenant still a future thing.

I think Robert's point of the Twelve as representing Israel in the Gospels is important in this discussion. I expect this is why Paul calls himself a "minister of the New Covenant" in 2 Corinthians 3.

I personally take the "eternal Covenant" of Hebrews 13 to be a synonym for the "New Covenant" of Hebrews 8. The difference is that Hebrews 13 quotes Ezekiel 37 (LXX), where Hebrews 8 quotes Jeremiah 31. The LXX translates "everlasting" as "eternal" in Ezekiel 37.

Robert said...

There is also an important change in language between Hebrews 8 and Hebrews 10. Hebrews 8:8 should read finding fault 'to them' i.e. Israel and Judah. Hebrews 10:15 explains that the words that follow are a witness to us by the Spirit i.e. a witness to the believer of the church age.The Spirit therefore is teaching us how the new covenant applies to us - we don't have to guess for ourselves!

There is also a reversal of the phrase 'mind and heart' used in chapter 8:9. When we come to the application to us in chapter 10:16 it is 'heart and mind'. Israel had the 'oracles of God' but as a nation presently does not understand them. In a future day God will correct their understanding particularly about Christ and in that in turn will win the hearts of the Israelite. We Gentiles did not know the law, so God spoke to our hearts fist of all in the gospel and now He is in the process of educating our minds.

Rodger said...

Would you say then, that with the two "elements" of the Lord's supper, we are given two Divine intents: the remembrance of Him, and the appreciation of the value of what He has done in laying down His life? And in the latter, that the Lord speaks of the shedding of His blood according to the purpose and efficacy that His disciples could appreciate according to their then understanding?

Why does Paul retain the mention of the new covenant in 1 Corinthians 11? Is it a matter of consistency and continuity? By showing forth the Lord's death I understand something more comprehensive in its effect than just the remission of sins, even the truths of Romans 6-8, Colossians 3, etc. (which I interpret as Divine wisdom keeping us continuously in remembrance that we have entered a new place with Christ, even the new creation. All assembly activity should spring out of this, and nothing less).

I would like to hear you expand on your comment on the ministry of the new covenant when we get to 2 Corinthians 3, Mark.

Many helpful comments! Please let us know if we should move out of the narrow confines of your comment section, Mark. Also, I usually write out my comments in another app, and then paste them into the comment window, so as not to have it fail me.

Rodger said...

Really I should say, why does the Lord retain mention of the new covenant in His revelation to Paul, and by him, to the Corinthians: "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you..." (1 Corinthians 11:23)?

Robert said...


I agree with your first paragraph, so won't add to it.

We are surely living at the end of the church age, the Corinthians were living at the beginning. Jewish believers particularly would be very interested in the terms of the new covenant and how it differed from the old. And Gentiles believers have proven down through the years that we have a habit of placing ourselves under law!

I think 'show forth' is connected with eating and drinking and is therefore not dependent on our understanding or appreciation of the things that you mention. I would have connected them more with the remembrance of Him.

However, you should embark on a preaching tour of Canada and USA, and when you are finished the UK. Tell every assembly you visit that, 'all assembly activity should spring out of this, and nothing less'! Unless an older generation recover to this truth and a new generation see it for the first time, we will end up with gospel mission halls.

Rodger said...

To clarify, not that we eat and drink with total understanding, but that it becomes the impetus towards understanding. That is, that we have the Lord and His death before us, and it impresses on us (as one of its effects) that God has come to a total end with the first man, that we would seek our all, afterward, from Christ, where He is (Colossians 3:1-2, Ephesians 4:15-16). And that as drawn by affection towards the One we remember.

HandWrittenWord said...

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

"For who has known known the mind of the LORD?
Or who had become His counselor?"
"Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?"

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.
(Romans 11:33-36)

clumsy ox said...

If I thought of the world primarily as "the place where Christ died", I would see it very differently. I dare say it would attract me much less.

Anonymous said...

Some helpful comments from JND:

A living Messiah was the crown of glory for the Jews; but, if He is lifted up from the earth, He draws all men. His broken body is the door for sinners from the Gentiles. On this the heart of the Christian is nourished, not merely as on manna come down from heaven, which typifies Jesus, a man upon earth, nor on Jesus in the heavens (where we are one with Him) - it is there the hidden manna; but on this devoted victim of propitiation which I see brought to the altar, and there sacrificed, slain for us - a victim full of love and of devotedness.

..........It is then the precious Saviour, humbled to death, that we have here, His body given (and one could not go lower down), and His blood shed out of His body. In that manifestly it is not a question of Jesus, such as He is at the present time; for He is glorified. This natural life He has left for us. He only presents it to God as a thing already given elsewhere; but He speaks here of a double effect of this blood which He has shed; first, He speaks of it as the foundation, or at least the seal, of the new covenant; and, secondly, as the foundation of the remission of the sins of many. That is, the basis of the new covenant is now laid, and, moreover, it is not a question of an act which relates to Jesus only to shew His obedience: this blood is efficacious for the sins of others. That does not merely secure new privileges, which one enjoys as a Christian, but procures the pardon of the sins of many of the Jews - not only so, but, in a general manner, of many. As to the new covenant, I will say some words here.

The old covenant, it is clear, is the covenant made with the Jews at Sinai. The Gentiles are not there for anything. The new one refers to the old; it will be established really with Judah and Israel, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah (chap. 31:31-34). What then have we to do with the new alliance, we other Gentiles, may we ask ourselves? This is the answer. It is clear that the covenant itself treats with the Jews and with Israel, but upon principles of grace, and based upon blood of perfect efficacy before God. Now, for the moment, Israel is put aside as a nation. It enjoys no covenant.

What then is the state of things with respect to the covenant? It is that the Mediator of the covenant has shed His blood, and thus the basis of the covenant is laid: it is confirmed and established immutable before God. Christ is ascended on high, and we are one with Him, enjoying all the effect which is essentially attached to His person and to His position. We have the blood of the covenant. Those who are called to it exercise the ministry of the new covenant. Our position is to be united with the Mediator of the new covenant, and to enjoy all the privileges which He enjoys Himself, as having it established in His blood; though the covenant is not formed with us, it is established in Him before God, and we, we are in Him here below. What is the consequence of it? We drink of blood. If a Jew had drunk of blood under old covenant, it was death: could a man be nourished on death? It is the fruit of sin, it is his condemnation, it is the wrath of God, as the blood in the body was the life; and a Jew had no right to that. But Christ has suffered death. And can the Christian be nourished on death? Yes; it is salvation, the death of sin, the infinite proof of love. It is his life, the peace of his soul, the deliverance from sin, before God. What a difference! We drink of His blood, the proof of salvation and of grace, and the source of life.

(C.W.24: 63-65)


Anonymous said...

"New testament" (v. 6) is the "new covenant," which we find also in Jeremiah 31; it is new in contrast with the old. It is characterised by the forgiveness of sins, and a man no more teaching his neighbour. Then the prophet says, that they shall no more say, "Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them." The two chief points are the knowledge of God as Jehovah, and the forgiveness of sins. God's part of that covenant has been done, and Israel would not take it up: so we now are getting the blessings of it, without its being made with us. Our Lord says at the supper, "This is the new covenant in my blood"; and here Paul calls it the same, saying he is an able minister of it. How could he minister it before it was made? The foundation has been laid, and we have the ministry of it. Christ shed His blood, and then the grace was proposed to the Jews; but they would not have it. Peter, in Acts 3, told them Christ would come back if they would have Him, but they would not. God gives the blessings to others, and announces them by His ministers. But the covenant is not made with anybody. It cannot, in any sense, be a new covenant with us, because we have no old one . "This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel," God says. "After those days," it is said, He puts His law in their hearts, He forgives their sins, makes them know Himself: that is the new covenant, and a very important one too.

C.W.26: 319

Thus, in chapter 8, there is an entirely new covenant, and the new makes the first old. In the letter, it is made with the house of Israel. But, besides, there is grace: not, I do not remember them, "but their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." I will never remember them any more. That is our place. A covenant made with man, as man, is certain ruin, because his righteousness is required, his keeping it is called in question. But here God says, "I will put my laws into their mind," etc. If man is under the old covenant, he is under an "if." If under the new, there is no "if." This covenant of the letter is made with Israel, not with us; but we get the benefit of it. "This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many." This was putting away the breach of all obligation by death. Israel not accepting the blessing, God brought out the church, and the Mediator of the covenant went on high. We are associated with the Mediator. It will be made good to Israel by-and-by. Paul was the minister of it in the spirit; but he could not be as to the letter. They will need no minister of it, because every one will know it, when God writes it on their hearts; the thing is done - God will be their minister (reverently), when writing it on their hearts. We have it not in the letter, but in the spirit of it, and so have all the value of it, because the way we get it is that the Mediator of it becomes our life - we are forgiven our sins - we are associated with the Mediator. He is our life, and we have all the blessings of the new covenant within the veil. We have all the blessings, for the very reason that it is not executed with the people for whom it was made.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bro.Mark,

Though Eternal Covenant & Everlasting Covenant are one & the same, I think they donot refer to the New Covenant.
No Scripture including Heb.13:20 calls eternal( rendered as everlasting in W.Kelly's translation) covenant as New covenant. I think the emphasis in Heb.13 is not on the Eternal Covenant rather on the BLOOD of the Eternal Covenant. The passage contrasts the efficacy of the blood of the eternal covenant against the blood of the sacrifices in the Old Covenant. Though there is no denying that the blood of the Eternal Covenant and Blood of the New Covenant are essentially the same, that doesn't mean the Eternal Covenant & New Covenant are the same. The Blood of Christ , our blessed saviour is the basis of all blessing.

JND writes,

There is in Hebrews 13:20, another expression to which allusion may be made: God has "brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant." This shews us that Christ Himself is above, and has been raised according to the efficaciousness of the blood that He has shed to satisfy the glory of God. He, the only and beloved Son of the Father, charged Himself with our responsibility and our sins, and thus with the glory of God in this respect; and if this glory had not been completely satisfied, He could not evidently either rise again, or appear before Him whose majesty required that nothing should fail to the work. But He accomplished this work gloriously, and in that the Son of man has been glorified, and God glorified in Him; and He is ascended on high, not only as Son of God, but according to the efficaciousness of His work, in virtue of which He appears before the Father, the everlasting covenant being thus established in His blood.The question here is not of an old or a new covenant, which refers to particular circumstances, but of the intrinsic and essential worth of the blood of Christ.

Some more from JND

Ques.. What is "the everlasting covenant"?

That is the whole thing, between the Father and the Son, I suppose you may say, "A body hast thou prepared me," and, "Lo, I come to do thy will." We are not under the new covenant, though we do get the good of it, and a great deal more.

44 Ques. Is the difference between the old and new covenants this, that the old is conditional, and the new is unconditional?

Precisely so. In the old you have "two," and it came to nothing, but "a mediator is not of one," and in the new, "God is one," and so God is bound and He says, "I will write."

Ques. What is a "covenant"?

Terms on which God prescribes for His people.

Ques. If we are not under the new covenant, how is Paul an able minister of it?

There would not be a ministry if we were under it.



HandWrittenWord said...

At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.
Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."
(Matthew 11:25-27)

Anonymous said...

1. There was the old covenant with Israel, called in Heb.
9:1 "The first covenant"; THIS IS OFF.
2. There is to be made "a New Covenant with the house of
Israel and with the house of Judah" (Ch. 8:8-12). THIS IS NOT YET
Therefore Israel and Judah are out of all covenant
relationship with Jehovah at present. (And remember God was never
in covenant with Gentiles.)
3. There is the everlasting covenant of Ch. 13:20. THIS IS
ON FOREVER. The parties in this covenant are: (a) The God of
Peace, and (b) The Great Shepherd of the sheep ... our Lord
The terms of the covenant were: (a) God--The God of Peace
(for all things are of God), requested the Son to come to earth
to "give His life a ransom for many." (b) The Divine promise--as
made to Him that, He having done so, God would bring Him again
from among the dead.
See comment also on Ch. 8:9.
Remember, God never made a covenant with the human race:
they are not under any covenant. He made, as we have seen, a
covenant with His Son, that if He would bear sin unto death, He
would raise Him up. So, The God of Peace brought (Him) again from
the dead ... in the blood of an eternal covenant. If the word
were _dia, through, instead of _en, in, it would mean that it was
through the blood that God brought Christ again from the dead. He
did not do that. Christ had committed no sin. The word is _en,
in--in agreement with, in accordance with the terms of the
covenant. This is the eternal covenant of which the Lord Jesus is
said (9:15) to be the Mediator, and which is celebrated in the
Lord's Supper, in view of His death, by those benefited forever
* Alford well says "The expression itself (in the blood of
an eternal covenant), can hardly but be a reminiscence of
Zech. 9:11: and if so, the import of the preposition here will be
at least indicated by its import there. And there, it is, 'by
virtue of (in the power of) the blood of the covenant' entered
into with Thee. By virtue of that blood also He was raised up as
The Great Shepherd, out of the dead, and to God's right hand."
This was revealed to Paul: "The Lord Jesus in the night in
which He was betrayed took bread ... in like manner also the cup,
after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood:
this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me." And 2
Corinthians 3:6: (God) "Who made us sufficient as ministers of a
new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit." Note also
Luke 22:20: "And the cup in like manner after supper, saying,
This cup is the new covenant in My blood, even that which is
poured out for you." This is the covenant of Hebrews 13:20.
* This eternal covenant did not have an external mediator
(as Moses). Gal. 3:20 must be fulfilled: "Now a mediator is not a
mediator of one; but God is One." No external mediator is needed
here. The covenant of Heb. 13:20 has, indeed, Christ as
"Mediator." But this covenant being between two Persons of the
Godhead; and all conditions fulfilled (Christ's death and God's
raising Him from the dead), the term "Mediator" must no longer
demand conditions to be fulfilled. There is peculiar blessing in
seeing clearly that an eternal covenant or agreement exists
between God the Father and God the Son--one God.
William R. Newell


Joshua said...

Dear Sister Susan,

From What I could understand I think WRN concludes that the New Covenant of Heb 8 is the Eternal Covenant of Heb 13.
Though I agree with first part of your comment , I disagree with the latter.

His statement " God never made a covenant with human race" is against Gen 9:8-16 .
And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; Gen.9:8-9.
His appeal to Alford for asserting the covenant in Zechariah.9.11 as eternal covenant also is wrong. For Zech.9:11 refers to the New Covenant and not the Eternal Covenant. Zech .9:11 is addressed to the Daughters of Zion and it speaks of the deliverance of the prisoners (zion's sons) when her KING comes unto her. As this deliverance is future the Covenant also is. So the Covenant referred here is indubitably New Covenant.

As to his comments about the revelation of Lord's Supper to Paul, I heartily agree. However his inferences " This is the eternal covenant of which it is said (9:15) to be the Mediator, and which is celebrated in the Lord's Supper, in view of His death, by those benefited forever thereby !" & " This is the covenant of Heb.13:20" are not Scriptural.

JND precisely wrote "The everlasting covenant has a different character from the new covenant. There are many covenants in Scripture, but the old and new are distinct, and with Israel only."(CW.27:312).

WRN himself correctly points out in the first Part, the New Covenant is between JEHOVAH and ISRAEL & JUDAH, whereas Eternal Covenant is between GOD OF PEACE and LORD JESUS , THE GREAT SHEPHERD OF THE SHEEP. Why & How does he later say that they both are same, I really can't understand.

When saying that the Father and Son entered into covenant relationship, I think we must also remember this

".......... for the word covenant is rather what God has condescended to assure man's heart by; but when Christ says, "Lo, I come to do thy will," He undertakes something and the Father having given Him power over all flesh to give eternal life to those whom He has given to Him, He accomplishes all, so as to present them according to the thoughts of the Father's love perfect to Him. All this ordering of wondrous divine counsels, Christ having undertaken all needed, and obtained by redemption, and given, as the Father has sent, the Holy Ghost to accomplish the rest in us, being, so to speak, undertaken by parties, if one may reverently so speak, has been called a covenant; and I apprehend the apostle speaks so alludingly when he says, "through the blood of the everlasting covenant." But in general, save as an allusion, covenant is an inferior idea to this taking up their own place in this glorious counsel of God by the Persons in the Trinity. I doubt that scripture would speak of their covenanting among themselves, as if they had had to bind or assure one another. It is called for us an everlasting covenant, but this, though it embraces all this really, is rather the idea of God assuring man by its being an immutable, unchanging thing, secured to man by Christ's blood: not the Persons binding themselves among themselves."


Anonymous said...

Thank you Joshua. I'm not as knowledgeable on this subject as you guys, and I appreciate you all.
Learning as I am growing
In Christ,

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister Susan,

Thank you. I'm also not knowledgeable as the other guys commenting here. I have learnt & enjoyed a lot from this site and this blog has really been a blessing to me.


Rodger said...

Looks like you might have an epic comment discussion on your hands, Mark. Obviously something many of us are interested in.

Using JND's comment as a springboard ("There would not be a ministry if we were under it." This comment is always on my mind when I think of the new covenant. Thanks for sharing, Joshua), could someone give some help as to the ministry of the new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6)?

Rodger said...

There is much help here, for any who are interested: , but some discussion would also be appreciated.

Robert said...

I hesitate to take up more space on Mark's blog but would make the following brief comments on 2 Corinthians 3. Chapter 3 is the ministry and chapter 4 tells us about the life of the minister. Then chapter 5 tells us of a further ministry, that of reconciliation.

The old covenant demanded righteousness from men, and men found no matter how much they tried that they could not provide it. It was therefore a ministry of condemnation. Cain discovered at the outset that the best man can do for God is not good enough. But the new covenant brings in a ministry of righteousness. Righteous is now provided by God and it is a righteousness that comes from the accepted work of Christ. How do we know His work is accepted? Because He is in glory. At the cross The work was finished; on the throne His work is accepted.

The old covenant was a ministry of death because the more men tried to keep the law, the more they failed and ultimately their failure demanded death. Death is Gods only way of removing sin. The new covenant is a ministry of life and liberty and these two principles come from the presence of the Spirit. That's what I said earlier that because the church has Christ in glory and the presence of the Spirit, it comes into the blessings of the new covenant.

I believe that the phrase, changed from glory into glory is a dispensational thought rather than a moral thought. It is a person looking at Christ in glory and enjoying the liberty of the Spirit and moving practically in his soul from being under the law to enjoying all that grace has to offer. What we look at, we will eventually become!

HandWrittenWord said...

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:10-11)

Anonymous said...

"What we look at, we will eventually become!" Glorious comment Robert!
HandWrittenWord - Love the Scriptures! Do I know you? Susan

HandWrittenWord said...

In agreement with Susan -- glorious comment from Robert indeed!

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

Anonymous said...

"There are many covenants in Scripture, but the old and new are distinct, and with Israel only."JND So..........In your understanding does the church share the actual spiritual blessngs of the New Covenant now or do you see the church's spiritual blessings as similar to Israel's future spiritual blessings?

Robert said...

Apologies in advance if I don't answer your question. I'm not quite sure what you mean.

There are number of distinctions between the blessings of the church and Israel. The church is given now, 'every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ' Ephesians 1:3. The background to the terms of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31 is territorial and material blessings in addition to the spiritual blessings of verses 33,34. The church will be part of the Fathers family in heaven, whereas Israel will be part of the family on earth Ephesians 3:15. The mystery of the church was hidden in other ages and is now revealed Ephesians 3:5 and therefore sits outside of prophesy and covenants. Israel was the subject of prophesy and covenant blessing which will be made good in future days.

I return to what I said before - it is the churches relationship with Christ in glory, the Spirit on earth and the value of the blood that brings it into the blessings described in 2 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 10:16,17. They are best viewed if you like as an overflow of blessing to us, a consequential outcome of our relationship to Christ, the Spirit and the blood. They are not the exact blessings that will be given to Israel because there is a material aspect that the church will never receive.

Anonymous said...

Dear Robert& Susan. ,

Though the church doesn't enjoy the material & blessings of the New Covenant , I understand the Church enjoys ACTUAL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS of the New Covenant , not Similar Ones.

The Old Covenant made at Sinai dealt with the responsibility of man. It was conditional and demanded obedience from men. But the mind of the flesh is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. So God in his grace brings in a better Covenant. This NEW Covenant is based on God's Sovereignty. It is unconditional. In New Covenant it is always I (GOD)WILL .(Jer 31:31-34, Rom.11:26,27)

Israel having rejected the blood of the Covenant, the Covenant is not yet made . While it will be made good to them when the fullness of Gentiles come in, in the mean time the Church connected with the Mediator of the Covenant enjoys the spiritual blessings of the Covenant without being under it.

The New Covenant will characterised by Writing of laws on their new hearts & The knowledge of Jehovah among all & Forgiveness and no more remembrance of their sins. ( Heb 8:10-12)

The OT saints never had the knowledge of forgiveness of their Sins. But in New Covenant there will the knowledge of forgiveness of Sins. We Christians have now the knowledge of forgiveness of our Sins . We have a purged conscience. This I reckon to be one of the Spiritual blessings we enjoy of the New Covenant.

There are certain blessings that are transdispensational- Newbirth, Childship.
However we must never forget that the Church at the present enjoys infinitely higher blessings than Israel will enjoy under New Covenant. The blessings under New Covenant never raise to the plane of Heavenlies.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. That was very helpful.

Robert said...

Joshua - those are very helpful comments. Thank you.

Everyone - this fellowship we have had in these postings is surely an example of Ephesians 4:16 - maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Anonymous said...

The feeling is mutual. So thankful for the ministry and fellowship here.
Ephesians 4:12,13

HandWrittenWord said...

Yes -- wonderful fellowship.

Show me Thy ways, O LORD;
teach me Thy paths.
Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me:
for Thou art the God of my salvation;
on Thee do I wait all the day.
(Psalm 25:4-5)

Rodger said...

Agreed! May we each, by His grace, continue to hold fast the Head, and know the increase of God (Colossians 2:19), a mutual and substantial reality, in these days of look-alikes and knock-offs.

Rodger said...

(I append this to your last comment, Robert, and commend to all of Mark's readers the unique and wonderful ministry of GV Wigram:
"No measure short of Christ and the church is our gospel; and God is acting upon that truth, and I do most simply, therefore, ask that I may find grace in his sight, not only to know Himself and His truth, but to know myself livingly associated with Him as the living God in His present action. Blessed also is the truth to such a one of the Lordship of Jesus: i.e. that He is not Savior only, but Lord of All also.

I believe it to be a very great sin, and a grief and a dishonor to the Holy Ghost, to deny the church of the living God, and a corrupting of the gospel. To make little of what God is doing, as the living God, is a sin too; and this is what they are guilty of who make little of present association with Him as the God so acting. Who would turn back from "the Father," and " the Son of man upon the Father's throne;" the Father acting for the members of the body of that Son-to grace and mercy as fitted for a soul itself in its dangers and needs? Blessed is the gospel which calls a sinner, and the grace which suits a saint; but I am speaking of the responsibility of unexampled infinite grace.

I believe it to be horrid dishonor put upon oneself to be thinking merely of one's own soul, or even of the souls of poor sinners and saints around one, if it be to the forgetting of the central truth; GOD'S central truth-of His delight in Christ and His church.

I need hardly say, I do not sanction any disparagement of any babe's attainment in thus speaking. I speak not of such; but I speak of those who, professing to be "somewhat," and to be making progress into a fuller light and liberty, would set the gospel as their more excellent employment; or who would put aside the thought of a " present testimony" for the gospel's sake." )