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Two Contrasting Covenants - Part 2

Two Contrasting Covenants - Part 2.

 

Scripture speaks of only two covenants that deal with the subject of salvation.
The book of Hebrews makes this fact clear. Hebrews 7:18-22. 8: 6,7,13. 10:9.
To simplify the subject, let us think of God's covenants, or agreements with mankind, as two baskets holding the promises of God.

 

Basket # 1. Here God placed all His unconditional (eternal) promises based entirely on faith in His keeping power. God first delivered this to Adam in Eden (Genesis 3:15), then replenished it to the saints who followed. Finally Abraham was blessed with the details of God's plan for the redemption of the whole world. This basket ministered life. 2 Cor. 3:6.

 

Basket # 2. The full extent of the details and demands in this basket were not known until centuries later when God revealed them to Israel after, as a nation, they turned their backs on His provision. In this basket He placed the demanding laws and conditional prophecies given solely for Israel's benefit. This basket administered death. 2 Cor. 3:7.

 

The two trees God planted in the Garden of Eden may also be compared to baskets.
Each tree represented a different approach to life.
The Tree of Life held all the ingredients of faith in The Creator and distinguishes the Christ-centered faith from all other world religions.
The other contained "do-it-yourself" formulas that could be derived from knowledge and human reasoning. This was the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.
One meant life.
The other meant death.

 

Question: Why did God give man the opportunity to choose the wrong way?
Love does not compel, nor does it take away one's freedom of choice. Love only loves. It means freedom. God warned Adam not to experiment with the alternative to love and trust, but like an inquisitive child, Adam insisted on finding out the reason why.

 

Basket #1 was the Tree of Life.
It even contained the divine remedy, should man ever slip into error.
In its center was the Lamb of God, who was revealed as soon as Adam and Eve sinned. Genesis 3:15 revealed the Redeemer, who as the "seed" of the woman would crush the enemy and restore mankind to their original innocence. It not only held everything necessary for the maintenance of a healthy spiritual life, but also the Remedy should that become necessary.

 

Basket #2 was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Here God would place all the remedial laws and prophecies regarding His dealings with wayward humanity, should they ever stray so far that they would entirely lose sight of the Tree of Life. All its contents were not revealed until Israel had completely lost their way and were stranded in the Sinai Desert. It contained the hard lessons by which that fallen nation would learn how helpless they were to restore themselves to a state of holiness. Ever since Eden, God's saints chose to feed from basket #1, but, according to Numbers 11:5, Israel preferred the taste of "fast foods" of leeks and onions in a sauce of Egyptian slavery from basket #2. Probably not knowing what they were doing, they ate from the same tree that poisoned Adam and Eve. They insisted on trying the "do-it-yourself" program.
God understood Israel's limitations. Generations of slavery impacted their "DNA" so that they were no longer capable of relating to freedom. They knew only controls and controllers. Their mentality now contained psychological imprints that demanded a taskmaster. God obliged. He provided a new schoolmaster, the Law. Galatians 4:1-3. The concept of having everything provided was so foreign to their thinking that they could not accept the divine manna and water even when provided for them. They wanted to do everything for themselves. Is it any wonder they told God that they could live a holy life without depending on His gifts of love? Exodus 19:7,8.

 

Galatians chapter 4 presents a similar parallel when it speaks of the two women, Sarah and Hagar. Sarah is presented as the mother of those who live by the same faith that sustained Abraham. Hagar, by contrast, is presented as the mother of the Jews who rejected Christ and who, at the time Paul wrote that epistle, still controlled the city of Jerusalem.
Now all this is an allegory; these [two women] represent two covenants. One covenant originated from Mount Sinai [where the Law was given], and bears [children destined] for slavery; this is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and she corresponds to and belongs in the same category with the present Jerusalem, for she is in bondage together with her children. Galatians 4: 24,25.

 

Paul compares Sarah and Hagar (with their sons) to the two covenants that stood in opposition to one another. He pictures them as holding two baskets. Hagar holds the "goodies," or Law, that Israel received at Mount Sinai and formed the foundation of Judaism. Paul spoke of this Law as,
"the ministration of death." 2 Corinthians 3:7.

 

Sarah holds in her basket, the reality of the promise of Righteousness by Faith that was passed on from Abraham through Isaac. By contrast, Paul associates the Law Israel received at Mount Sinai with Ishmael who was symbolic of the works of the flesh. As Jesus told Nicodemus, who was a bona-fide Jew, a genetic connection to Abraham does not qualify a person for the inheritance of the saints. John 3: 1-6.

 

Faith in the finished work of Jesus, our Redeemer, is the only door into the kingdom of God. That is the reason why Jesus took the entire Sinai Covenant, with all its Laws and conditional prophecies (which had fulfilled their mission) and nailed them to the cross. See Colossians 2:14,20 and Ephesians 2:15. Now Israel could join Abraham's extended (spiritual) family and together enjoy the freedom of salvation through Christ.

 

The other startling declaration in Galatians chapter 4:25 is that Jerusalem is portrayed as outside the promises of the Covenant of faith! Paul portrayed the Jews who controlled Jerusalem at the time he wrote, as Ishmaelites, outside the inheritance promised to the spiritual descendants of Abraham. By the way, have you ever noticed how Revelation 11:8 also portrays the city of Jerusalem? Speaking of the two witnesses who would be slain because of their testimony to the true God, we read:
And their dead bodies will lie exposed in the open street... of the great city which is in a spiritual sense called by the mystical and allegorical names of Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified (Amp).

 

In what city was Jesus crucified? In Jerusalem! Here Jerusalem is equated with Sodom and Egypt! That is the same comparison Paul made in the texts we just read in Galatians. Jesus pioneered a path for us to escape the perils of "Egypt," or Judaism, which today controls Jerusalem and is still anti-Christ. Out of Egypt have I called my Son. Matthew 2:15. In fact, Egypt was, and remains more hospitable to Jesus than Jerusalem is. Mat. 2:13.

 

Of what practical benefit is this information to us who live in the year 2006?

 

Once we see how simple and easy it is to distinguish between the New Covenant basket and the Sinai Covenant basket, every saint will have the key to unscrambling the confusion created by the self-serving promoters of religion. We can know which promises and prophecies apply to our day and which are outdated and went down with the Sinai Covenant that Christ nailed to the cross. Now you can determine for yourself what is truth and what is not. Once you discover this key to Scripture, you will no longer have to entrust your soul to the paid experts to tell you what the Bible really teaches.

 

The Sinai basket.
What did God put in this covenant basket, prepared solely for Israel, that He did not put in the covenant He gave to Abraham?

 

1. After they sinned, Adam and Eve avoided the need of a legalistic basket (covenant) by quickly
returning to the Tree of Life. After their deliverance from Egypt, Israel also turned their backs
on God, but unlike Adam and Eve, they refused to repent and locked themselves in a "rescue-
yourself" mentality. Because they insisted on it (Ex. 19: 8), God designed a basket (covenant, or Law) that He knew they could never satisfy. They swore that they could. God knew they never would. However, God also attached to that basket a "pictograph" of the plan of salvation by which they might escape that prison. This included the holy days, sanctuary services and animal sacrifices that pointed to Christ. This covenant was made only with, and for Israel's benefit. It was not with our fathers that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today. Deut. 5:3.

 

Jesus also said the function of the Law and the Old Testament prophets ended with His ministry. Matt. 11:13.

 

2. God identified the 10-commandment Law and the Sinai Covenant as one inseparable unit.
God gave these the same identity and so, they could never be separated. Religion has sought
to divide them, but Scripture tells us that God wrote the covenant (the Law) itself on
the stone tablets. For proof that the Sinai Covenant and the Law were the same thing, read,
Deut. 4:13. Ex. 34:28. 1 Kings 8: 21. Deut. 5:1-22. 2 Chron. 6:11. Heb. 9:4.

 

3. According to Deuteronomy 5:3 the 10-commandment Law did not exist before Sinai.
How did the pre-Sinai saints know right from wrong? It was by the same Spirit of God,
who in the pillar of fire by night and in the cloud by day, guided Israel through the
wilderness. Eventually Israel stopped listening, and God withdrew His Holy Spirit from
them. It was the same Holy Spirit who guides us today that spoke into the hearts of the
saints before the Law was ever given.
Psalm 51:11. Genesis 6:3. Nehemiah 9:20,30. John 16:7-11.

 


4. To this same basket God eventually added incentives designed to encourage the nation
of Israel to return to the faith of their father Abraham. God promised that, if they
accepted their assignment by faith, then eventually the glory of the Lord would cover
the whole world and Christ would come to reign over the nations from their capital city
of Jerusalem. Their response when He came? They crucified Him! By this action,
literal Israel aborted the prophecies of glory for their nation predicted by the prophets.
Jesus put and end to their charade in Matthew 21:43,44. 23:37-38. 24:1,2.

 

5. All the prophecies God gave to Israel regarding a glorious future were conditional on
their faithfulness. God made it plain that if they should betray that trust, then that
betrayal would negate and cancel all the plans He had for them as the head of all nations.

 

Notice the IF with which God qualified all the prophecies of glory given to literal Israel.
See Jer. 18:5-11. Deut. 28:68 (NIV or Amp.) Ex. 19:5. Ps. 132:11,12. 1 Kings 9:4-9.

 

What literal Israel lost through pride and exclusiveness, the multinational, spiritual
family of Abraham (Israel) gained. According to Romans 9:6-9, God's promises to
Abraham are, today, being fulfilled through his spiritual descendants as He promised.
God never limited Himself to the whims of any secular nation!

 

6. The sanctuary services with animal sacrifices were a temporary symbol given to
remind the Jews that the Messiah would come to provide redemption for the whole
world by sacrificing Himself as the ultimate offering promised since Genesis 3:15.

 

7. All the holy days, or Sabbaths were also given to point that nation to the coming Messiah.

 

8. All the above were part of the same covenant, or basket God gave solely to Israel at Sinai.

 

9. This whole covenant package had the cross of Christ as its expiry date.

 

10. The entire Sinai Covenant ended when Christ fulfilled it and nailed it to the cross.
See Col. 2:13-17. 2 Cor. 2:6,7. Eph. 2:14-22. Heb. 8:5-7, 13. 9:15. 10:1-4, 9.

 

Today, the original covenant of faith that God gave to the pre-Sinai saints stands alone as the unshakeable and immutable Word of God. It alone is backed up and guaranteed by the blood of Jesus whose Word cannot fail. Any return to the animal sacrifices of the expired Sinai Covenant, or to any part of its Laws, would be a blasphemous denial of the sacrifice that Jesus, the Son of God, made on our behalf. Paul looked on such a return to the past as "witchcraft!" Galatians 3:1-3. Jesus alone is both the Author and the Finisher of our faith.
Let us look to Him and live!

 

Samuel Pestes www.sendingthelight.com e-mail - s.pestes@shaw.ca

 


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