A Needed Critique Thought
This review is of material presented in convention August 3, 1909 by Benjamin H. Barton, entitled "God's Covenants." He was a close associate of Charles Taze Russell, and he supported C.T.R. in the issues which arose as a result of changed teachings on the new covenant, and teaching on the sin offering.
Such a review would be of little purpose 84 years later, except that many readers may still have indistinct opinions regarding the subjects, and may be quite unaware that they themselves may hold interpretations on the topics which directly contradict Scripture. Inasmuch as: a) the article appears in the published l909 Convention Reports; b) it was published in England about 25 years later; and c) that it continues to be reprinted by two publishers in the United States who endeavor to put it in the hands of new Christians studying God's word, a fresh, detailed examination of its concepts may be appreciated.
The publishers of this review, for reasons given in it, recommend close study of and comparison of the Bible's testimony with the thoughts presented in the "God's Covenants" article and the article that follows it. The importance of the discussions which follow will become apparent to those who take the time to investigate. The suggestions given herein on the two subjects and related Bible passages will be of spiritual interest even to readers who lack copies of the article under discussion.
This review goes forth with the grateful acknowledgment that Brothers Russell and Barton have, on many other topics, given God's people spiritually-helpful Bible interpretations, admonitions and exhortations. Page and paragraph numbers are cited for both formats to direct the reader to the portion discussed in whichever of the two currently-published books they may find it. First citations are keyed to the articles printed in the book "What Pastor Russell Taught," from Chicago Republishing Committee; citations in parentheses are keyed to "Pilgrim Echoes," published by Portland Area Bible Students.
356, par. 4(2) (149, par 4(2)): The intimation here is that those who do not accept these new teachings may be in jeopardy of the second death.
356, par. 6 (150, par. 1): This paragraph is extremely judgmental of Christians who would continue to acknowledge that their spiritual blessings come through their relationship with God in the new covenant. But let us all commit ourselves "to him that judgeth righteously."--1 Pet. 2:23
357, par. 2 (150, par. 4): Honest disagreement is called fault- finding. That charge is sure to discourage proper investigation by those who are in sympathy with the accusation.
357, par. 4 (150, par. 6): Yes, B.H.B. was "led to believe" the things which he came to accept. But were they really "truths"?
357, par. 5 (150, par. 7): It is not likely that many who have come to disagree with C.T.R. have done so "hastily." Rather, it has been by force of Scripture. It appears to us that B.H.B. adopted a very peculiar process in the course of determining what he came to accept.
358, par. 1 (151, par. 1): There are numerous statements in the book of Hebrews which many find impossible to harmonize with C.T.R.'s teachings. Let all rejoice in the realization that it does not take a number of weeks to understand clearly stated Bible teachings.
359, par. 2 end (152, par. 2 end): Psalm 50:5 is misapplied. The passage does not refer to Christian saints, but to the people of Israel in covenant with God over their animal sacrifices. See Rotherham translation. Also see the folder, "God's Solemn Promises as Foregleams," and the discussion of this passage in "Salvation and God's Covenants," page 53, free on request. Those discussions examine the entire Psalm.
360, par. 1 (153, par. 3): Regardless of which or how many covenants the Apostle had in mind, we can be sure that the promised new covenant was among them. It is obvious that B.H.B. intentionally left that important one out. Furthermore, all know that "the blood of Christ" did not bring the Gentiles (nor the Jews) 'nigh' to the Mosaic law covenant. "The blood of Christ" brings us into the new covenant and enables us to be "blessed with faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9). The Apostle Paul could have had God's promised new covenant in mind in Eph. 2:13 because he knew that it had become effective at Pentecost.
361 (154): An extended consideration of concepts included on that page is recommended. See the discussion of the "Allegory," in "Salvation and God's Covenants," pages 29-36.
364, par. 1 lower (158 top): In Gen. 21:31, Beersheba is assigned to the name of a place where an agreement-oath was entered between Abraham and Abimelech. This must have been subsequent to the events of 21:14,19. There is no intimation of any oaths exchanged by God with Hagar or Ishmael; also, Gen. 21:31 does not refer to God's oath-bound covenant. The implication in the article is that the law covenant survived and is still in effect. But the law covenant was dying in the days of the apostles! Heb. 8:13 reads, "In that he [God] saith, a new covenant [said through Jeremiah long before], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13). The law covenant lost its promise. The testimony of God's law-- legal, ceremonial, prophetic--continues to identify spiritual realities to whoever considers it. But God does not honor concurrently two divergent covenants which claim to carry forward the promises of the original (Abrahamic) covenant. The Apostles recognized the vanishing arrangement and its waning priesthood, and eventually all its institutions were abolished in the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 68-70.
365, par. 2 (158, par. 2): The line of thought in that paragraph contradicts the plain statement that the new covenant promised of old "has been established" (Heb. 8:6). No one suggests the absurdity that Sarah was a 'new wife' to Abraham. God made no covenant with Sarah, thus the expression "Sarah covenant" is not seen in the Bible.
365, par. 2 (159, par. 1): It may be incorrect to teach, as there done, that "Christ and the Church are developed" under the same covenant. Sarah brought forth a free son Isaac, typical of Jesus Christ. Jesus offered Himself to God without sin and was perfected without the benefit of any intercessory atonement. He met every requirement of God's law and will. But the church is of "Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is our mother." "Jerusalem which is above" obviously was not the allegorical mother of Christ Jesus our Lord, for there was no Jerusalem which is above, or New Jerusalem, during the time of His development and perfecting. "Jerusalem which is above" became established through His power and authority as the risen Christ. Following His resurrection, a further arrangement was instituted for the bringing forth of spiritual children. Jesus gave instruction of this when He said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you." Those to whom Jesus spoke the words, "shed for you," were of the house of Israel to whom God's new covenant was promised, and with whom it was made. Gal. 4:24-26 reads, "...for these [women] are [represent] two covenants; the one...which is Hagar...answereth to [corresponds to, is in the same rank with] Jerusalem which now is...but Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother." The sense of the text is that the other woman represents "Jerusalem which is above," and it is that which is "our mother," not Sarah. Because that Jerusalem is declared to be "free," we, too, as Isaac was, are free children (not born to bondage). See "Salvation and God's Covenants" book, pages 30-36, with table on page 35, with its discussion of the Galatians allegory. Free on request.
365, par. 3 (159, par. 2): Neither "covenant of grace" or "grace covenant" terms are found in the Bible. Attaching either term to one of God's covenant suggests that other covenants may not be of grace. God's covenant with Abraham contained many "unmerited" promises, but it did not have provisions in it through which sin could be forgiven. God's grace of forgiveness of sin is carried out through His new covenant, the only covenant with which blood of redemptive value is identified. It was sealed by and became effective through the blood of Christ. Inasmuch as salvation comes only through the blood of Christ-- the blood of the new covenant--all those in the new covenant are of the "many more children" in fulfillment of the promise to "the desolate" freewoman (Isa. 54:1, Gal. 4:27).
366, par. I (159, par. 3): God's covenant with Abraham promised a seed, but contained no process for the cleansing, reconciliation and sanctification of that seed.
366, par. 2 (160, par. 1): It is the new covenant that is personified in the allegory, represented by a woman--Sarah: "...for these [women] are [represent] two covenants; the one...which is Hagar...answereth to [corresponds to, is in the same rank with] Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother" (Gal. 4:24). The apostle says that, allegorically, Sarah corresponds to that which is our mother.
366, par. 4 (160, par. 3): The opening sentence may be inexact in two aspects. It may be better to say believers are 'in' a covenant, rather than 'under' one. And we have become of the 'seed' promised 4000 years ago in God's covenant with Abraham, through the provisions of the new covenant, the only covenant which brings forgiveness of sins. Please see extensive discussion of Rom. 11:25-27 in FF folder, "When[ever] I May Take Away Their Sins," available free on request, as to when this new covenant took effect.
367, par. 1 (160, par. 4): The writer of Rom. 11:26,27 drew from the prophecies in Isa. 59:20,21 and Isa. 27:9, which describe the acceptance of members of natural Israel as "sons of God" into the early church. Those prophecies help to an understanding of the principal teachings in Romans 11.
367, par. 2 (160, par. 5): Statements in the first 3 lines of that paragraph that Jer. 31:29-34 will not be true "until the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ" conflict with both New and Old Testament teachings. Firstly, Heb. 8:6-13 affirms to the Hebrews of the time of the epistle that God had made a new covenant with the house of Israel. Secondly, Ezek. 18:1-4 clearly states that the proverb quoted in Jer. 31:29 would no longer be used "in Israel," the very people spoken of in Jer. 31:31-34, and affirms the statement in Jer. 31:30. Each person in the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel would be accountable for the results of his own action. If he would not, as directed (Jer. 27:12), submit to the Babylonian captivity, he would suffer death by the sword, by famine or by pestilence (Jer. 27:13, 29:15-19). Of course such death would not have been "second death," nor was such meant in its previous sayings. But second death is implied of those involved in the new covenant.
367, par. 2 (160, par. 5): The applicability of Jer. 31:34 is not limited to during or after the Millennial age. The meaning is not of all mankind, but restricted to the "least of them to the greatest of them" who are in the new covenant, from Pentecost forward. See discussion of this and of Jeremiah's two other uses of the phrase in "Salvation and God's Covenants," page 44, par. l.
367, par. 2 end (161, top block): One publisher dropped a word from the original. B.H.B. wrote, "...and the New Law covenant..." (or perhaps "...the new Law Covenant..."). Inserting the word 'law' into 'New Covenant' was a practice introduced to impress the opinion that the new covenant is to be made with Israel in the present middle east with the rigidity of a law of commandments. But God does not deal with or employ such strictures when He writes His law in hearts today, nor is He likely to do so tomorrow.
368, par. 1 (161, par. 1): The "seeming discrepancy" between Jer. 31:32 and Heb. 8:9 is due to the fact that Paul quoted from and used the Septuagint, and the Greek for the former is the same as the Greek for the latter. B.H.B. examines, "although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD" and its marginal reading, "should I have continued a husband unto them." The only two words we thought possibly connected to deserve investigation in that KJV wording is 'although' and 'husband.' Strong's Concordance gives no source word number for the former. Neither of two Gesenius' Lexicons gives any concept 320>under 'husband' as B.H.B. infers. If anyone understands what B.H.B. had in mind in this place, we would appreciate being informed.
368, par. 1 end (162 top): Jer. 31:32 and Heb. 8:9 both have "and I regarded them not," put in past tense (see Septuagint, translated 'disregarded'). That was past tense from Jeremiah's time. So the time when God found them to be continuing "not in my covenant" was from Jeremiah's time and before. Thus, there is no justification in the interpretation expressed, revealed by words in the article: "...seeing the people of Israel were treating the children of the Abrahamic Covenant somewhat like Ishmael treated Isaac..." Those words, though perhaps not clear to all, have in mind the persecution by Jews either of Jesus and His disciples, or of Christian believers in the early church. Assuredly, B.H.B. had in mind one of those identities, for the closing phrase, "...until the entire Isaac Seed had been developed," shows that by his phrase, "children of the Abrahamic Covenant" he made reference to Christian believers. But there were no Christian believers, disciples of the antitypical Isaac, in Jeremiah's time when God 'disrgarded' His typical people. But B.H.B. held those thoughts and entered them there to support his next-to-follow interpretation of "after those days." Heb. 8:7,8 leads into "after those days": "For finding fault with them he saith, Behold the days come..." God found fault with His people even prior to the time of Jeremiah. Scripture indicates that fleshly Israel from their earliest experience with the Lord, and under their covenant, often "continued not in My covenant." Their acts of disobedience in the wilderness under the covenant were of such magnitude and historical remembrance as to be recalled by the simple expression, "as in the provocation" (Heb. 3:8,15). They murmured against Moses (Exod. 16:2, 17:2, Num. 11:1); sinned in calf worship (Exod. 32:1-29); were dissatisfied with having only manna (Num. 11:6- 33); rejected the report of the faithful spies (Num. 13:1-14:39). These and other provocations were summed up as that they had tempted the LORD "now these ten times" (Num. 14:22). But this was only the beginning of their history in which "they continued not in My covenant." Because of the poor response by these natural descendants of Abraham, the one with whom God had covenanted concerning a seed to bless others, the LORD testified at a later time with special reference to their wilderness provocations: "I wrought for My name's sake, that it [My name] should not be polluted before the heathen" (Ezek. 20:14,22,44). This prophecy was made about the time that Jeremiah prophesied. The chronology used in Clarke's Commentary dates Jer. 31 as 587 B.C. and Ezek. 20 as 593 B.C. That was long before the brief proclamation by Jesus of the rejection of fleshly Israel. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left [that is, abandoned] unto you [desolate]."--Matt. 23:37,38 Furthermore, Heb. 8:7,8 has an additional element which defines the days when the Lord made promise of a new covenant. These were days in which the first covenant was found to be not faultless; days when "finding fault with them," the Lord saw it timely and good to promise a new covenant. These were days up to the prophecies of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others, preceding which the Lord had found fault with Israel for more than a thousand years. The prophecy stipulated that the new covenant would be made "after those days," but did not specify how long after. Events recorded in the New Testament provide the answer.
368, par. 2 (162, par. 1): In the first sentence under the subhead "After Those Days," page 162, B.H.B. admits that the purpose of his discussion of Heb. 8:9 is to prove "those days" continue up until the Millennial Age. But Scripture itself proves such teaching to be not valid. It is good to define the different concepts that become involved in any discussion of prophecy. "After those days" and "those days of disfavor" are set forth in Scripture as distinctly different periods, and confusion may be created if they be combined, as in his paragraph. We commend consideration of three FF folders, "Mercy Upon Zion," "...Today I Declare that I Will Restore to You Double," and "Fathers - Fishers - Doubles - The Land," which will be sent on request.
369, par. 1 (162, par. 2): Just a simple reading of Jer. 32:36-44 will reveal that the prophet warned of destruction by Babylon, and promised a regathering after that punishment. His blessing was to be "of them, and of their children after them" (vs.39). That detail is important, for it was after a few generations that the "everlasting covenant" was made with all of them who would receive it. Of those generations it was said, "that they shall not depart from me" (vs. 40). And it was so: a faith remnant remained and it was from them that a later remnant received Jesus. It was to evidence his own faith in the promises written in Jer. 32:43,44 that the prophet himself did that which is recorded of him in verses 7-16. Note prophetic uses of the word "fury." It appears repeatedly in God's warning of the Babylonian punishment: a) "...in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath" (Jer. 32:37); b) "...in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land" (Deut. 29:28); c) "I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins" (Lev. 26:28) after having already previously promised three times to "punish you yet seven times" without threat of "in fury."--Lev. 26:18,21,24 369, par. 5 (162, par. 6): We suggest a different meaning than given by B.H.B. The 'rod' of Ezek. 20:33, rather than denoting punishment, is used to mark those devoted to God. The shepherd uses the rod in counting the tenth--one in ten to be devoted to the Lord. Please read the source of the illustration--Lev. 27:32--and the application of it expressed in Jer. 33:13: "...shall the flocks pass again under the hands [holding the rod] of him that telleth them." Surely that refers to the one shepherd, God's servant David, our risen Savior, Christ Jesus our Lord, in his supervision of believers from Pentecost and forward. See Ezek. 34:22-26. Several pointers in the New Testament direct us to draw spiritual lessons from portions of Ezekiel 20. a) Acceptance is affirmed, vs. 40,41, with your sweet savour, as are believers in Jesus: 2 Cor. 2:15, Eph. 5:2. b) Verses 9,14,22,44, 36:21,22, Isa. 48:11, 1 Sam. 12:22, Jer. 14:7 stipulate that the LORD has "wrought with you for my name's sake," that He might not fail to bring forth His foreknown Israel. The New Testament affirms that the dear Israel of God, the true Israel, exists; no longer need the Lord work in the same sense for His own "name's sake." c) Jesus' quotation from Ezek. 20:47 recorded in Luke 23:31 regarding what would happen to Israel when God's special blessing left them, suggests that the focus of the chapter was to Israel's harvest, and not to millennia thereafter. d) The conclusion of that Old Testament five-verse parable affirms that that fire, which "all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it...shall not be quenched." All previous destructive episodes in the experience of His people Israel were quenched as the Lord "wrought with [them] for [His] name's sake." But through the ministries in their harvest of "green" trees, the Lord gained His true Israel. Would this, too, not have led Jesus to say to that people, "Behold, your house is left [abandoned] unto you [desolate]"?--Matt. 23:38
369, par. 6 (163, top block): This line of thought (that what appears to contain the strongest evidence of the new covenant from Pentecost onward, really contains the strongest evidence to disprove it) makes it difficult for brethren today to acknowledge and accept the blessings of that precious covenant established through the blood of Christ. The book of Hebrews contains the direct statement that the new covenant "has been enacted"; B.H.B. says 'it has not been enacted.'
369, par. 6 (163, top block, end): Let the reader himself conclude whether the things presented in that writing of B.H.B. are "further light" or something else.
369, par. 7 (163, par. 1): Let not a technical illustration and discussion obscure the apostolic logic! The priesthood and the covenants interlock. The Levitical priesthood functioned in the law covenant; the Melchisedec priest functions in the new covenant. The Abrahamic covenant had no priest. Scripture itself applies the prophecy, "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec," to Jesus at His resurrection. God does not install a priest to do nothing for 2000 years. Jesus Christ is an unchanging priest; He never dies; He continues ever. "He ever liveth to make intercession for" those "that come unto God by him." The Hebrews writer wished his readers to know that favor from God through a "better covenant" offering eternal blessings is 'pledged, secured, guaranteed, under good security,' the meaning of the Greek egguos, translated 'surety.' The writer would soon affirm that "now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises" (Heb. 8:6 NAS; see also Heb. 10:14-18). Heb. 7:22 affirms, not that "a better covenant" will sometime be made, but as "The Lord sware and will not repent [concerning Jesus], Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much indeed [in proportion to Him being a priest for ever] Jesus has become surety of a better covenant" (Marshall Interlinear, see also NAS). He guarantees its blessings to every one making application therefor from then on, because he is a priest for ever. The teaching of the apostle is much different than that of B.H.B. in
369, par. 7, and 370, par. 1,2 (163, par. 1,2,3). 370, par. 2 (163, par. 3): Jesus ascended into the heavens with his own blood (Heb. 9:24-27) to make atonement for all who would believe. Atonement through the new (better) covenant is insured to all who will apply for it; and that is why believers have forgiveness of sins and all other reconciliation blessings.
370, par. 3 (164, par. 1): The text, Heb. 8:6, in better rendering, reads, "...the mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted on better promises" (NAS; some translations read "has been instituted"). How could this truth of the concurrency of the new covenant be made clearer?
370, par. 5 (164, par. 3 middle): We suggest that the teachings therein are not valid. It is not intended that a literal view be taken of the words, "The man that doeth them shall live in them" (Gal. 3:12, Rom. 10:5, Neh. 9:29), and it does not read nor mean "...shall live by them." "...which if a man do, he shall live in them" (Lev. 18:5) means such a man shall have the full favor and blessing of the Lord as long as he live. Exod. 23:25,26 expresses this point more clearly: sufficient bread, water, no barrenness, sicknesses taken away, and "the number of thy days I will fulfil." (We perceived the real meaning of that promise at General Convention about 1978 from a discourse by Irving Foss.)
371, top block end (164, par. 3 end): A further close reading of the promise of the new covenant in Jer. 31:31-34 gives no intimation at all of what status those blessed through it would eventually attain. It is sure from Heb. 8:6-13, 9:15, 10:15-20, that the author of Hebrews believed that the new covenant would bring those in it to full salvation, deliverance, and glory. Furthermore, the law covenant was a ministration of death, and a ministration of condemnation (2 Cor. 3:7,9), never intended to bring life, but to function as a child leader to bring the people to Christ for life.
371, par. 1 (164, top): There is no explicit nor even an obscure Biblical instruction that the new covenant should go into effect only after the church is glorified. Please see our comments on 370, par. 3 (164, par. 1).
371, par. 1 (165, top): Let not a very technical illustration and hypothetical discussion obscure the very clear apostolic teaching! 371, par. 1 (165, top): It is inappropriate to liken the institution of the new covenant, a great manifestation of divine grace, to the enactment of a law. The writing of God's law in hearts is a spiritual process with spiritual blessing, and according to 2 Cor. 3:2-6, the Apostle Paul rejoiced in his privilege as a co-worker in that process. And the writing of that law in the coming age will also be a spiritual process, spiritual in the sense in which that word is used in 1 Cor. 10:3,4. 371, par. 2 (165, par. 1): B.H.B. again binds additional concepts into a passage without Scriptural authorization. On this occasion he claims the time of Israel's "cast-off condition" to be identical to when they were 'disregarded.' We suggest the time of the two circumstances are not the same. (Please see comments on 368, par. 1 (161, par. 1.) The view of B.H.B. was that Israel has been cast off during the call of the Gentiles; that they were 'cast off' temporarily. However, in the words of Jesus, they were 'abandoned.'
371, par. 2 (165, par. 1): Compare the following sentiments from Old and New Testaments: the prophet wrote, "they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother"; the apostle wrote, "The anointing which ye received from Him remains in you, and ye have no need that anyone should teach you, but as the anointing of Him teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and as it taught you, remain ye in Him." The prophet wrote, "they shall all know me"; the apostle wrote, "ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye all know." We suggest from the above that the apostle drew his concepts from the prophet's testimony. Inasmuch as all mankind are not yet being instructed by the Lord, as His word promises they shall be "in due time" (John 5:28,29, 12:32, Acts 17:31, 1 Tim. 2:4-6, 1 Cor. 15:27,28, Rev. 22:17), some have reasoned that the new covenant is not yet in effect. But 'all' and 'every man' in Jer. 31:34 need not be understood as meaning every living person, nor all who ever lived. Jeremiah mentioned "from the least of them even unto the greatest of them" (Jer. 31:34) in two other places. In each instance he referred not to all in Israel, but rather to a limited company within that nation. Jer. 6:13 and 8:10 speak only of those "given to covetousness," amongst whom there were "the least," "the greatest," and those having in-between degrees of that evil disposition. Furthermore, both passages mention specifically those assigned to or usurping spiritual activities: "from the prophet even unto the priest." This comparison clarifies the understanding we should hold of 'all' and 'every man.' The meaning of the word 'all' is directed by the context in which it is used. It is only the members of the 'house' who accept the new covenant that can receive His law in their inward parts, and in their hearts, be the people of God, and have their sins put out of remembrance.
372, par. 1 (165, par. 2): We suggest that the assumption is invalid that the time of the new covenant would be delayed 1900 years.
372, par. 2 (166, par. 1): Perhaps the point B.H.B. thought 'beautiful' is, when looked into, found to be not a point at all. He picked out a definition from Liddell & Scott's Unabridged Greek Lexicon of a word different than he thought he was examining. The definition given, 373, par. 3 (167, par. 1) is not the definition given by that Lexicon for the correct word--the Greek verb sunteleo, used in Heb. 8:8. His mistake was failure to understand how the Lexicon is arranged. The meaning of sunteleo, Heb. 8:8, is revealed by its rendering in interlinearies of that verse: "I will effect," "I will ratify," "I will finish," "I will complete." (The definition B.H.B. took from the lexicon--"a joint contribution..."--is an unusual usage of a different word, the Greek noun sunteleia. It was an unfortunate happening, in which he built an entirely misdirecting interpretation.)
372, par. 2 (166, par. 1): The thought in Heb. 8:8 surely is not of bringing the new covenant to an end! The thought is, rather, of all being done to effect its opening or beginning: the sending, obedience, death, resurrection, glorification of Him by whom the new covenant is mediated and through whom it is administered--our Lord Jesus Christ.
373, par. 1 (166, par. 2): Paul did not translate the Hebrew word karath when quoting Jer. 31:33 in Heb. 8:10 and Heb. 10:16. Rather, he quoted directly from the Septuagint. The lengthy discussion of karath is extraneous to the topic, and inapplicable.
373, par. 3 (167, par. 1): This paragraph is based upon a definition of sunteleia, rather than of sunteleo. Inadvertently, the author took a definition of an inapplicable word. The entire thesis and conclusion is invalid.
374, par. 2 (167, par. 4): All of the sacrifices enumerated in Heb. 9:12,13,19 are typical of the offering once for all of Christ Jesus our Lord.
374, par. 4 (168, par. 2): This Scripture clearly says, "He is the mediator of the new covenant"; it does not say "He is to become..." The Bible does not teach an office without authority to function in it; but rather of an office and its blessed work.
374, par. 5 (168, par. 3): The Scriptures in B.H.B.'s article quoted just above that paragraph (Heb. 9:14,15) present exactly what the Apostle meant to teach. The "little further research" obscures the Bible truth. We think that and the two following paragraphs comprise human reasoning which subverts sanctified reasoning. The explanation in those three paragraphs is that though the Mediator of the new covenant brought them deliverance from the curse of the law covenant, the Mediator arranged "in a wondrous [but undefined] way" for them to share in the distribution of the blessings of the new covenant, rather than in the receiving of the blessings which were to be granted to those in it. This discussion seems forced, and the result of previously-accepted misinformation. We consider it unscriptural and without logic.
376, par. 1 (169, par. 1): There is no inspired record presenting the three-stage concept. It is a contrived argument. When the one offering "once for all" was completed, the new covenant became God's instrument of blessing, and Heb. 8:6 says "...He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises."--NAS 376, par. 2 (169, par. 2): The concept of the three stages ignores the fact that there were three acceptances of God's covenant before Moses went up into the mount for forty days the first time (Exod. 24:18). The people said, in the first acceptance, "All that the LORD hath spoken we will do" (Exod. 19:8); the second time, the people said the same (Exod. 24:3); the third time, after Moses read to them the newly-written book of the covenant and was about to sprinkle them with the blood of the covenant, they said the same (Exod. 24:7,8).
376, par. 2 (169, par. 2): The record of Exod. 34:27-35 is that the skin of Moses' face shone when in the mountain for 40 days the second time, not during what the author refers to as the 'preparatory stage.' We suggest that fact indicates there is no validity to his thesis. Furthermore, the thought that the vail over Moses face was a reminder that the greater-than-Moses would be invisible to the world is not suggested in this passage. 2 Cor. 3:7-13 indicates the significance of the vail: "that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away"--NAS ("of the thing being done away"-- Marshall).
376, par. 3 (170, par. 1): The presentations of this paragraph conflict with the plain statements of Heb. 8:6, 7:22, 9:15, and 10:17,18; and the three-stage concept lacks Scriptural support.
376, par. 4 (170, par. 2): Rather than as here written, we suggest that Israel was in their law covenant at least as soon as they heard the reading of the book of the law and received the sprinkled blood of the covenant.
377, par. 1 (170, par. 3): Ministers administer something. Paul was administering the new covenant to the Corinthians. All faithful disciples assist other disciples in receiving the writing of God's law in their hearts.
377, par. 3 (171, par. 2): It is commonly recognized that New Testament acknowledgments of Old Testament types sets the appropriate boundaries to what should be recognized as typical. A type must have an antitype! Keturah remains unmentioned in the New Testament. Some who claim Keturah and her sons to be typical use that line of thought to justify their rejection of apostolic teaching that the new covenant "has been enacted." That is imputing inordinate authority to a type, even were it a happening which the New Testament identifies as a type. The examples cited of Isaiah 61 and Psa. 68:18 do not contain types, nor do they have antitypes. It was the wise choice of Jesus not to declare "the day of vengeance of our God" in that Nazareth synagogue when endeavoring to comfort, enlighten, and influence hearers. He had other things to say to them that day (Luke 4:21-27) before they became "filled with wrath" than to declare God's anger against them. But that He soon did. "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled" (Luke 21:21,24, 23:28-31). Paul, too, took quotation from the Old Testament (Psa. 68:18) as far as was appropriate when writing to a Gentile church who had themselves already departed from rebelliousness, and had become submissive to the will of God. There was no need to discuss that feature and engage in a divergent thought when he was pursuing the spiritual lesson of God's care and gifts, the subject already in hand (Eph. 4:7), in support of which he had turned to the Psalm. There may be nothing in the appropriate teachings of Jesus or Paul, whether or not they be judged incomplete, to suggest he pursued a pattern in not mentioning Keturah. We believe the apostle realized he had taken the allegory to its conclusion. The three-word phrase, "the two covenants" (in Gal. 4:24), "for these [women] are [represent] the two covenants," was written of the law covenant and the new covenant. The Abrahamic covenant was already made, in force, and its years counting (Gal. 3:17) before Abraham had any children by the bondwoman or the freewoman. Thus the Abrahamic Covenant could not have been likened, represented by, or in the same rank to either of the two women. The reality of a valid new covenant from Pentecost forward is abundantly attested in Scripture. Let not typemaking nor extraneous arguments obscure divine truths. It is acknowledged, however, and with great admiration of God's loving purposes, that many more than the comparatively few who thus far have come to believe into Jesus, will be blessed with eternal inheritance in due time.
379, top block, lower (172, lower): Many Christians who rejoice in the enacted new covenant do not deny the blessing of the world in its time of visitation; and many Christians who embrace the enacted new covenant understand that it will continue to extend its forgiveness of sins and writing of God's law in hearts to the deliverance of the groaning creation.
379, par. 2 (173, par. 2): The first half of Isa. 49:8 contains an important principle, precious to all who have been invited by the Lord to serve Him. The apostle quoted for our encouragement only the portion of that verse that contains that principle. Paul did not quote the entire verse because he knew only Jesus was prophesied of in the complete verse. Read Isaiah 49:1-8; it is all prophetic of Jesus. The same is true of Isa. 42:1-7, which please read. Verse 6 contains the same promise, "...and give thee for a covenant of the people." It is not unusual for an important promise to be repeated by the same prophet. It is Jesus that is given for a covenant, not the church. That is why Paul taught so clearly, "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all."--1 Tim. 2:5,6
380, par. 2 (174, top): When Moses was earlier instructed to build an altar, he was told to "...sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen" (Exod. 20:24). From Exod. 24:5-8 it is known that the "peace offerings were of oxen (calves)." That means the burnt offerings were sheep. 'Sheep' in the former text is from the Hebrew tseown, Strong's #6629, meaning "to migrate--used of sheep or goats," so 'goats' is suitably used in Heb. 9:19.
380, par. 2 and 381, par. 1 (174, top and par. 1,2): These paragraphs contain added, dramatized details not found in Exodus 24 or in the New Testament, and were written to enforce certain preconceived concepts. Moses took the animal blood, put half of it in basons, sprinkled half on the altar, and read the book of the covenant to the people. After their agreement to be obedient, he sprinkled the blood on the people. This represented the blood of Christ Jesus, and the apostle referred to His blood in relation to the new covenant as "the blood of sprinkling" (Heb. 12:24). Believers receive that sprinkled blood to their own benefit, in connection with their salvation, and it denotes their being received into the new covenant under our Lord Jesus Christ. It is only through that blood that we come into the covenant, even as "all the people" (Exod. 24:3) then came into the typical covenant.
381, par. 2 (175, par. 1): The apostle Peter evidently took close note of the Exod. 24:7,8 record which relates the people's pledge of obedience with the blood of sprinkling. He connects these elements in 1 Pet. 1:2 in the same sequence, and exhorts us to be obedient and submissive: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." This is Peter's acknowledgment of his place, and his exhortation regarding our place, in the new covenant, under its glorified Mediator.
382, par. 1 (176, par. 1): No Bible language stipulates that the new covenant effects a gradual uplifting process, even though the concept itself holds true to all who turn from sin toward righteousness.
382, par. 2 (176, par. 2): When Jesus said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20), he said the new covenant is for us. The message in the institution of the memorial of His death and as presented in 1 Cor. 11:25 is to show forth his death, not our sacrifice. But many other passages teach the Christian privilege of suffering with Christ in our daily baptism.
383, par. 2 (176, par. 2 middle): "When he had supped" means "after supper." It does not mean, "When he had sipped [of the cup]," as some have thought, and as B.H.B. seems to imply. Clearly, Jesus did not drink of the cup of "the new covenant in my [His] blood."
383, par. 3 (177, par. 3): We suggest that such strong statements as seen in that paragraph are a gross over-simplification of what the prophetic statements should really be understood to teach.
384 top (177, par. 3 middle): We suggest that both prophecies, that of the two sticks and the valley of dry bones, met their fulfillment after the Babylonian captivity. Citizens of the two houses have been unidentifiable for almost two millennia. We suggest that Ezek. 37:23- 28 finds its more fitting application to Jesus as king over true Israel.
384, top (178, top): Note the promise, "...I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee [past tense]..." The fulfillment of this prophecy is attested by the fact that the nations of Assyria and of Babylon no longer exist.
384, par. 1 (178, par. 1): This review is not an appropriate occasion to print a consideration of all prophetic statements regarding Israel.
388, par. 4 end (193, par. 4 end): 1 Cor. 15:29,30 is discussed in the folder, "Are You Baptized For the Dead?", available free from FF.
389, par. 1 (194, par. 1): Jesus did not drink of the cup of "the new covenant in my [His] blood."
389, par. 2 (194, par. 2): "Afflict your souls" meant they were to fast, and do no work, and earn no money, in anticipation of their annual cleansing from sin. See Isa. 58:3,5; Lev. 23:32, and Lev. 16:29-31. Animal sacrifices were made and blood was sprinkled, which made atonement, once each year, on the typical Atonement Day. Such were called "sin offerings." (Other sin offerings were made on many other days and disposed of in different ways.) All the sin-offerings were concluded in the antitype once for all when Jesus completed his sacrifice and the presentation of its value in heaven. He offered once. The results of that offering began to be manifested on Pentecost, continues since then, and shall continue to the blessing of all the families of the earth. It is inappropriate to link Rom. 8:22 with Lev. 16's day of atonement, the antitype of which was from Jesus' baptism through Pentecost. Many other points in that long paragraph deserve comment. The only blood used to purge or purify the patterns (copies) of things in the heavens was blood from animals classified as sin offerings. Heb. 9:12- 14 shows that all such represented only the blood of Christ. Thus, "better sacrifices" (plural) refers only to the one sacrifice of the human body of Jesus Christ our Lord. It is put in the plural, not that there has been a repetition of it, for it is but one sacrifice, and but once offered up, and will never be offered again; but to show the excellency of it, it being usual with the Jews to use the plural number of things the most excellent. By its matchless excellence, it is equivalent to the Levitical many sacrifices. A similar instance exists where the plural stands for a manifestly single occurrence in a related matter. Had the writer of Hebrews understood, and we assume he did, that Isaiah 53:8 reads, "..e made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his deaths [plural]," he could be expected to use, as he did, plural 'sacrifices' with reference to the same important event, the once-for-all, all-prevailing sin offering sacrifice of the specially-provided body of Jesus Christ our Lord. There has been much discussion as to what Heb. 10:9, "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second," may mean. Perhaps neither of the two views sometimes heard is correct: a) He taketh away the first (old covenant), that he may establish the second (new covenant); b) He taketh away the first (the typical) sacrifices, that he may establish the second (the antitypical sacrifices). Consideration of verses 8 and 9 shows what God then had no will or pleasure in--the typical things offered by servants of the law. But now Jesus had come to do God's will--to do that which God would have pleasure in. By providing the essential antitypical sacrifice and offering, He showed that the typical were of no value to the removal of sin. What Jesus did was according to God's will (verse 10); it was "By the which [by that] will [the will of God] [that] we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." The finished work of Christ has sanctified us, that is, translated us from unholy alienation into a state of consecration to God. As said in verse 2, we now have "no more conscience [feeling of condemnation] of sins." By the very offering of His flesh (which permanently satisfied God's will in regard to sacrifice and offering for sin), Jesus declared the incompetence of the law sacrifices to satisfy the will of God. B.H.B. draws attention to the word 'establish.' Its Greek base, histeemi, is said in Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich Lexicon to mean, in its use in Heb. 10:9, "establish, confirm, make or consider valid [a certain] something"; Thayer: "to establish a thing, cause it to stand, i.e. to uphold or sustain the authority or force of any thing"; in Vine: "to cause to stand." The sanctifying influence in each believer's life is additional evidence that Jesus did establish, make permanent, the effectiveness of deliverance through His antitypical sacrifice and offering. The KJ version of Heb. 10:12 is indeed faulty, but we do not understand B.H.B.'s point that it is 'incomplete.' The Diaglott text (same in that verse as Textus Receptus) uses the Greek autos (for 'he') in verse 12 (Siniaticus, Alexandrinus, and some other manuscripts use outos (meaning 'this one'). Where the Diaglott twice uses the word 'continuance' (Heb. 10:12,14), some authorities use 'perpetuity.' There is no significant difference in the meaning of the words, except that into 'continuance' one could read a different thought if one's mind was looking to the body of believers (the church) for a 'continuance' of the sin offering sacrifices. And, as a matter of fact, there is that very point expressed by B.H.B.: "He has been waiting for nearly two thousand years and waits still, whilst those who are perfected and sanctified continue the 'better sacrifices.'.." That thought of B.H.B. is certainly unfounded. It is not good to contend that such sacrifice was but begun by Jesus, when it was both begun and completed by our loving Savior. 'For ever' is not a satisfactory translation of the Greek eis to dieenekes seen in Heb. 10:12 and 14. The Diaglott interline shows a comma in verse 12 (omitted in B.H.B.'s quotation of it): "But he having offered a sacrifice on behalf of sins, for the continuance sat down at right of the God, thenceforth waiting till may be placed the enemies of him a footstool for the feet of him." The thought reads more easily from Marshall Interlinear: "On the other [hand], this [priest] having offered one sacrifice on behalf of sins, sat in perpetuity at [the] right [hand] of God, henceforth expecting till the enemies of him are put a footstool of the feet of him." The point the apostle makes is that the typical priest was "standing daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices" (Heb. 10:11). He had to continue standing to function in that ministry, because needing to repeat those sacrifices which could never take away sins. But Jesus sat down in perpetuity, justifiably expecting His once-for- all offering for sin to be the sole basis for the eventual reconciliation of his enemies, no further offering for sin being necessary. Punctuation in the sentence is important, the meaning being made apparent when the comma is in the proper place, as done in Diaglott, Marshall Interlinear, New American Bible, Moffatt, Jerusalem Bible. However, B.H.B. teaches that a necessity for further offering for sin remained. But Scripture does not agree with that. Scripture says that Jesus, having completed His sacrifice and His offering, and having established its validity, 'in perpetuity sat down,' and waits henceforth. But B.H.B. says our glorified Lord Jesus has been "waiting nearly 2000 years, and still waits," for others to continue and complete "this work of sacrificing." Brethren, the apostle did not teach such regarding the sin offering. The apostle established the validity of Jesus' once-for-all service. Our Master's sacrifice and offering was not the commencement of an on- going sin-offering, but the conclusion. B.H.B.'s thought is different than that. To suggest that others also were to supplement the offering has just the opposite meaning from that expressed by the apostle. Thirty-one authorities in one private library agree to the punctuation of a comma after sins. "Sat in perpetuity" (said of Jesus- -Heb. 10:12,13) contrasts with 'stands daily' (said of the typical priest--Heb. 10:11) This harmonizes with Heb. 1:3: "...when He had by Himself purged sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." 390 top (195 top) There B.H.B. binds together as though they referred to the same period of time, three concepts: 'those days,' 'the days of waiting,' and a claimed period during which "'continued' sacrifices [by which he means sin-offering sacrifices] are completed." Such teaching is in direct conflict with various perceptions taught in Jeremiah and Hebrews, and they increase the interpretive burden which the sincere but unsuspecting must struggle with. Please see comments on
368, par. 2 (162, par. 1). 390 top (195 top): There, by putting the application of Hebrews 10, verses 16,17 in the future, B.H.B. gives a reverse spin or twist to the beautiful contextual teaching of the apostle in Heb. 10:10-18. Such is just the opposite of what the passage as written teaches, more easily seen when verses 16 and 17 are shortened: "Whereof the holy spirit also is a witness to us [because we have received his law and he remembers not our sins]...Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sins." Not to be overlooked is the lead-in verse 14 and its meaning: "by one offering [for sin] he hath perfected in perpetuity them being sanctified [through the covenant that writes God's law in hearts and through which he remembers not our sins]." 'Now' (the first word of Heb. 10:18) is from Greek de, Strong's #1161, defined therein as "adversative or continuative." Because having sins remitted was open to and the special privilege of those to whom he wrote, the apostle enumerates (vss. 19-25) other spiritual blessings intended for those in the new covenant. Had the writer of Hebrews intended, as B.H.B. contends, a postponement of the institution of the new covenant, it is unlikely he would have used the word 'now.'
390, par. 2,3 (195, par. 2,3): The use of 'fellowship' there by B.H.B. did not denote our receiving of the blessings of the atonement. He there used "fellowship" to teach 'participation' as being our part of that which provides 'atonement.' Because he held and communicated such thoughts, he found it necessary to stipulate that we do not have a 'fellowship' in the ransom. But it is seen from Scripture that there could be no such fellowship or contribution to the sin offering by the followers of Jesus, because His offering was "once for all."
391, par. 2 end (196, par. 3 end): Rather than as stated there, might it better say: Surely, being justified, we are blessed in being acceptable as we present our bodies a living sacrifice to God in His service.
391, par. 4 (196, par. 5): The passage discussed in that paragraph is exhaustively considered with a different conclusion in a 6-page folder entitled "Hebrews 13:10-16," available free from FF.
391, par. 4 (196, par. 5): The four classifications of offerings listed three times in Scripture (Psa. 40:6; Heb. 10:5,6; Heb. 10:8) all found their antitype in the one sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord--"a body hast thou prepared me." All offerings described in Lev. 16 found their antitypical fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. It is not harmonious with Scripture to teach that the antitypical Atonement Day is that period of time called the Gospel Age. Rather, the antitypical Atonement Day is the period of our Lord's 3-1/2 year sacrifice and His appearance in the presence of God, in heaven itself, on behalf of all who will believe into Him. 392 top (197 top, end): We suggest that the "offering up" (presentation) of Gentiles (Rom. 15:16) in the service of God and to be sanctified by the holy spirit is not part of the sin-offering typified by such offerings of the typical Atonement Day. 392, top (197 top, end); We acknowledge that in actual happening there was a co-mingling of the blood of the goat with that of the bullock. This would have occurred annually in the type when both bloods were sprinkled upon the propitiatory (Lev. 16:15) and when both bloods were put upon the horns of the incense altar (Lev. 16:18,19), as instructed in Exod. 30:10. The oneness of the blood, that the blood of both bullock and goat represent the one sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord in its several atonements, is expressed in the latter verse: "And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements." The Lord looked at sin offering blood as one blood. It was, however, necessary (for the successful work of atonement) to assure that the typical priest was first qualified--by cleansing and atonement--to officiate on behalf of the nation. The blood of the bullock provided that atonement. The blood of the goat provided atonement for the nation as a whole, which itself was "a kingdom of priests," typical of the royal priesthood. It is observed that when, as Lev. 16:21 records, Aaron confessed over the head of the live goat "all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins," the iniquities and transgressions of Moses, Aaron, and his sons were of necessity included with those of all the people, for there was no other provision for the sending away of those sins.
Suggestions for change or correction in foregoing statements in this review will be appreciated and given close consideration. It is hoped that these thoughts may assist Bible Students to present a Scripturally accurate view of these subjects.
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