God’s New Covenant

KEY VERSE: “He is the mediator of the new testament [so that] they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” —Hebrews 9:15


CONFIRMING the general testimony of the Scriptures, Paul states that the sacrificial work of the New Covenant will first of all result in the “redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament,” that “they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Heb. 9:15) It was the house of Israel and the house of Judah that transgressed under the old covenant, so when the mediator class is complete—the Zion class—there “shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob,” in harmony with the promise of the New Covenant, “for the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.” (Rom. 11:26,27,29) These are the “called” of Hebrews 9:15, called under the old Law Covenant, but they must await their “eternal inheritance” until the better sacrifices of this age are complete.

While Jesus, the Head of the mediator class, finished his sacrifice, all of his body members have not. They are still being planted together in the likeness of his death, and the New Covenant cannot be in force until this aspect of the divine arrangement is finished. “For,” as Paul explains, “where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.”—Heb. 9:16

In Isaiah 42:1-7 we have a prophecy concerning Jesus, the great “Servant” of Jehovah. “I the Lord have called thee [Christ] in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people.” (vs. 6) The thought is that through Jesus the promised New Covenant would be made with the people, and that he would be offered in sacrifice as a surety for that covenant.

But the Apostle Paul knew that Jesus would not be alone in this. In II Corinthians 6:1 he refers to our being “workers together with Him,” and beseeches us to receive not this grace of God in vain. In the next verse he quotes from Isaiah 49:8 concerning an acceptable time and a day of salvation, then adds, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Thus the Apostle Paul identifies Isaiah 49:8 as applying to the followers of Jesus; those who become “new creatures in Christ Jesus.” In this prophecy a promise is made to these which is identical in meaning with the one made to Jesus in Isaiah 42:6. It reads, “I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.” (Isa. 49:8) How clear it is from this promise that the inauguration of the New Covenant must wait until these joint-sacrificers with Jesus have finished their course in death! Because, by God’s arrangement, the covenant becomes operative through their death, as well as the death of Jesus, the Redeemer, they are also a part of the ‘testator’.

If we are to understand the lessons presented to us in the Book of Hebrews we must realize that Paul places the church, antitypically, not as being represented by the camp of Israel, but as the antitypical priesthood, the servants of the antitypical New Covenant. Their preparation as “ministers of the New Covenant” and their work of sacrifice in connection therewith require the merit of the blood in order to be acceptable to the Lord. And this is the work of the Gospel Age. We are now fulfilling our covenant with the Lord by sacrifice, and at the same time being trained for the future work of glory as kings, reigning with Jesus, and as ministers of the New Covenant, working with him in reconciling the world to God.

The entire scope of this work was suggested by Paul when he wrote that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.” This is the great objective of the divine plan as it is centered in Christ. And to us, Paul added, has “been committed the word of reconciliation.” (II Cor. 5:18,19) It is upon this basis that we are ambassadors for Christ. Even in the development of the church class, the individuals being drawn to the Lord and later called into his service, need to be reconciled to God, so we are commissioned to say to these, “Be ye reconciled to God.”—II Cor. 5:20

Thus, in the great economy of God, we are being prepared for the future work of reconciling the world through the arrangements of the New Covenant, by now serving, as it were, an apprenticeship and thereby demonstrating our complete harmony with the future work in which we hope to share. And we are invited to do this under conditions which call for sacrifice and suffering, even unto death.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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