God’s Gracious Covenant

KEY VERSE: “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” —Hebrews 8:10

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Exodus 19:5,6; Hebrews 8:6-13

WHEN the Lord made his covenant with the children of Israel at Mount Sinai, he promised them that if they would be obedient to the terms of the covenant, he would bless them and make them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. “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.” (Exod. 19:5,6) But the history of the nation of Israel bears record of the fact that they were not obedient, and because of this they lost their identity as a nation; lost favor with God, and were scattered to the four corners of the earth. (See Ezekiel 36:16-20.) The promises to Israel were for material blessings. These promises were expressed by the Prophet Malachi in chapter three, verses ten through twelve, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, said the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” But this wonderful promise was never fulfilled because the nation of Israel continued to disobey the terms of the covenant.

Moses was the mediator of that first covenant which was not able to reconcile the people to God, and Paul says that the whole arrangement was a figure of the true. (Heb. 9:9) But the apostle states that because Jesus was faithful, he became the surety of a better covenant. (Heb. 7:22) And in Hebrews 8:6,7 he states, “But now hath he [Jesus] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” It has always been, and continues to be, God’s purpose to reconcile the fallen human race to himself. And this he proposes to do through the operation of the New Covenant during the Millennial Age.

The apostle then continues to explain how this New Covenant will work and accomplish the purpose of God. In the ninth verse he states that the New Covenant will not be “according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” The New Covenant will be different because the conditions will be better and the people will be able to be obedient. Then the apostle tells us when the New Covenant will be established, for he said, “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord.” (vs. 10) The ‘after those days’ relates to the statement made in the previous verse where he said that he regarded them not. (See Matthew 23:37-39.) This is the period of the Gospel Age during which time the church is being developed. The apostle is saying when that work is finished, then the New Covenant will be established. See also Hebrews 10:14-17.

The apostle tells how the great work of reconciliation will be accomplished. “I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts … 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. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (vss. 10-12) And in Ezekiel 36:26,27, we read, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes.” It is the New Covenant that will bring into fruition the prayer that is so well known by all those who call upon the name of the Lord: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—Matt. 6:9-13

Dawn Bible Students Association
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