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It becomes therefore a matter of infinite moment to ascertain what the new covenant is, upon what conditions its blessings are suspended, and what we are to do in order to become partakers of its benefits. In addition to this general statement, we may remark that the subject of the covenants is becoming a theme of particular interest to Seventh-day Adventists at the present time, because it is just now considered a favorite point of attack by some of those who oppose the doctrine of the perpetuity of the ten commandments, and the still binding obligation of the original Sabbath.
Having exhausted every other source of theoretical opposition to the Sabbath in their futile efforts to overthrow it, they now claim that in the doctrine of the covenants they find conclusive evidence that the ten commandments have been superseded by something better, and that the seventh-day Sabbath, at least, has consequently come to an end. It is more particularly with reference to this phase of the question that the present examination will proceed.
We will therefore fairly state, and then candidly examine, these claims of our opponents. Briefly stated, then, their claim is this: That the ten commandments constituted the first or old covenant; that that covenant was faulty and has been done away; which is simply to say, in other words, that the ten commandment law was imperfect, and has been all abolished, the Sabbath with the rest.
In proof of this they quote a few texts of Scripture, which to new hearers would seem quite pertinent and positive. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded You to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. Here they claim that the ten commandments are plainly called the covenant. Then they turn to Deuteronomy 5: The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.
There was nothing in the ark but the two tables of stone, containing the ten commandments; yet Solomon says that in the ark was the covenant which the Lord made with the fathers of his people, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. Therefore those commandments were the covenant. Now to one who has not made this matter a subject of study, this seems very plausible.
To those not familiar with this question, the quotations would seem to be to the point, the reasoning consistent, and the conclusion inevitable, that the ten commandments constituted the old covenant which has been abolished. To such who would say that this cable which our opponents make appear to the uninformed of such strength and fair proportions, does not contain one solitary fiber upon which they can justly hang a single proposition contained in either their claims or their conclusions.
Chapter II: The Two Covenants: Their Relation by Andrew Murray
This we think we can clearly show. That the old covenant has been abolished by being superseded by the new, Paul plainly states; of this there is no question. And we affirm further that nothing has been abolished but the old covenant. Whatever has been abolished was included in that covenant, and whatever was not included in that covenant, still remains, unaffected by the change from old to new.
If the ten commandments constituted the old covenant, then they are forever gone; and no man need contend for their perpetuity or labor for their revival. But if they did not constitute the old covenant, then they have not been abolished, and no man need breathe a doubt in regard to their perpetuity and immutability. This therefore becomes a test question. It determines as definitely as any one subject can, the whole question of the perpetuity or abolition of the moral law.
Can we than tell what did constitute the first, or old, covenant. What does the word, covenant, mean? Webster defines it thus: We have definite data from which to work. We are told who was the author of the first covenant. We are told with whom it was made. It was made with Israel. We are told when it was made: It was made with that people when they came out of the land of Egypt. By these circumstances the old covenant is clearly distinguished from the Adamic, the Abrahamic, or any other covenant brought to view in the Bible.
We go back therefore to the history of Israel as they came out of Egypt, and lay down this as a consistent and self-evident principle: That the very first transaction we find taking place between God and the Israelites after they left Egypt, which answers to the definition of the word covenant, must be the first covenant, unless some good reason can be shown why it is not. Do we find anything of this kind in the experience of that people?
We find one, and only one, transaction of that kind. The record of it commences in Exodus Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. The briefest glance at this language shows it to be a formal proposition on the part of the Lord to the Israelites.
Moses was the minister through whom the negotiation was carried on. Go down, said God to Moses, and make to the people this proposition: If you will obey my voice, and keep my covenant, I will secure you in the possession of certain special blessings above all people.
With this instruction Moses went down to the people, and God waited for their answer. And all the people answered together and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. Such was the response of the people.
This is the first transaction of the kind recorded between God and that people. It answers most strictly to the meaning of the word covenant. Therefore we say that this has the primary claim to be considered the old covenant of which Jeremiah prophesied and Paul discoursed. Pleased read again Exodus Then God had something which he called his covenant, which antedated the covenant made with Israel. It was already in existence, before any formal agreement whatever was made with that people.
And this explains Deuteronomy 4: It should be noticed, further, that the covenant of Deuteronomy 4: But the covenant here mentioned, God did thus enjoin upon them without regard to any action on their part. It is now easy to be seen why the ten commandments are called a covenant, and what kind of a covenant they were.
They were simply the basis of that agreement recorded in Exodus This may be illustrated by the relation which all good citizens sustain to their respective States. They are all in covenant relation with the State. The State says, If you will obey the laws of this commonwealth, you shall be protected in your life, liberty, and property. The citizens respond, We will obey. This is the mutual agreement, the covenant, virtually existing everywhere between the citizen and the State. But when we speak of the State alone, its covenant would be its laws which it commands its citizens to perform.
These are the conditions of the agreement, and hence may be called the covenant of the State, because upon obedience to these are suspended all the blessings which it proposes to confer. Such was the relation established between the Lord and his people. He had a law which the very circumstances of our existence bind us to keep; yet he graciously annexed a promise to the keeping of it. Obey my law, and I will secure you in the possession of certain blessings above all people. The people accepted the offer. The matter then stood thus: God said, Then I will make you a kingdom of priests, a peculiar treasure unto myself.
This was the agreement or covenant made between them. But so far as God was concerned his law was his covenant, because it was the basis of the whole arrangement, and upon the keeping of that by the people, all the blessings were suspended which he proposed to confer. Does not Solomon here say that in the ark, where the ten commandments alone were, was the covenant which God made with the fathers of his people, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt? The key to the explanation of this passage lies in the antecedent of the word wherein.
Hebraists tell us that the grammatical construction refers it unquestionably to the place. Was the covenant always in the place where the ark was? And the expression, in the side of the ark, means a coffer or receptacle expressly prepared for it and placed by the side of the ark. Wherever the ark was there was this book of the covenant by its side. Hence Solomon could say, referring to the place where the ark was, that there, in that place, was also the covenant which the Lord made with that people when he led them out of Egypt.
Thus the strongest texts claimed to prove that the ten commandments constituted the old covenant, are found to contain not one shade of evidence in that direction. In the same sense the tables are called the tables of the covenant, and the ark, the ark of the covenant, because they contained this covenant; but none of these expressions refer to the covenant made with Israel by the mutual pledges to each other of the Lord and that people, as recorded in Exodus We now return to that chapter and resume the examination of the covenant then made.
But on the third day after this, the Lord came down in fearful majesty, and with a voice that shook the solid earth from pole to pole declared the ten commandments.
Then the Lord took Moses into a private interview with himself and gave him some instruction which the people were to follow in civil and religious matters, under this arrangement. This instruction is found in the latter part of Exodus 20 , and chapters 21, 22, and 23 entire, and is an epitome of the civil and ceremonial laws given to that people. In chapter 24 is resumed the narrative of the steps taken in the formation of this covenant. Moses appeared before the people a second time, and rehearsed in their hearing all the words which the Lord had communicated to him.
At their first answer, Exodus It would seem that this was all-sufficient.
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But the Lord moved very carefully in the matter, so that the people might have no opportunity to plead in after years that they did not know what they were doing in entering into this covenant with him. So he caused Moses to write out in a book all the words he had told him, that all points might be again carefully considered, and then to read it all over to the people.
And what was their answer this time? Here the covenant was closed up, sealed and ratified, by the shedding of blood. Keep this scene in mind while we pass down fifteen hundred and fifty-five years to the days of Paul, and notice his remarks upon this event. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 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.
Paul here plainly states that the first covenant was dedicated with blood, the words testament and covenant meaning the same thing, being from the same original word.
The Two Covenants, and the Second Blessing
And to what scene does Paul refer? To the very one recorded in Exodus Moses says, Behold the blood of the covenant; and Paul says that the covenant then and there ratified was the first, or old covenant. Now to settle the fact, once and forever, that this covenant was not the ten commandments, we have only to remark that neither Moses nor the people had a copy of the ten commandments of any kind in their hands at that time. This will appear from the further record of Exodus But before Moses was called up to receive this law of ten commandments which God had written, the first covenant had been made, closed up, finished, and ratified by the shedding of blood.
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A child may have a messy room and not take care of it, but every now and then, the child may clean it and take good care of it, out of their own volition. For those of you who are parents, you can understand how much pride you get if your child cleans their own room without you having to ask. It is the same way with God.
The Two Covenants
When we choose to love and obey God, without Him asking us to, He gains pride and glory. Another important thing to understand about this covenant is that it is a temporary ownership. Since God created man, He is ultimately responsibility for us. Going back to the room example, a child will eventually move out and the parents will take back the room. The room is apart of the house that the parents ultimately own.
In verse 13 of the Old Covenant Gen. This is because four hundred years later, God makes the New Covenant which is a ratification of the Old Covenant. Subscribe to Bible Truth Newsletter: I promise to use it only to send you Bible Truth. The first did not have everything open to it that the second does because the Holy Spirit was not given in the same way see John 7: There is a lot more that could be shared on the topic but the point is just because Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world Rev Thanks for your comment.
This was not an article intended to be comprehensive on the topic. This was just food for thought. If you agree to these terms, please click here. ST Aug 24, There is hope for us only as we come under the Abrahamic covenant, which is the covenant of grace by faith in Christ Jesus. Ellen White — Sermons Book.