Dwelling Place of the Father’s Seal
And Now to The Real Issue at Hand
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich
and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in
their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the
mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
Here, then, is the issue which according to this
prophecy we are soon to be called upon to meet. Human organizations,
controlled and inspired by the spirit of the dragon, are to command men
to do those acts which are in reality the worshiping of an apostate
religious power and receiving of his mark. If they refuse to do this,
they lose their rights of citizenship, and become outlaws in the land.
He who refuses to comply with these demands of earthly powers exposes
himself to the severest penalties which human beings can inflict. On the
other hand, he who does comply, exposes himself to the most
terrible threatenings of divine wrath to be found in the word of God.
The question whether they will obey God or man is to be decided by the
people of the present age under the heaviest pressure, from both sides,
that has ever been brought to bear upon any generation.
A Point of Common Interest
Thus far, we have learned that in these last days
there will be a world wide unity based on false religion which the Bible
refers to as "Babylon". It consists of three parts: the
dragon, the beast and the false prophet. We have learned that the
"Dragon" represents paganism, the "Beast" is Roman
Catholicism and the "False Prophet" is apostate Protestantism.
We have also learned that the United States of America (the lamb-like
beast) is mentioned in prophecy and that it will form an "Image to
the Beast." This "Image" (Protestant church-state) will
be at the forefront to enforce the dreaded "mark". Now think
about this for a moment. With all these diverse religions and
nationalities working together for a common goal, we must conclude that
the "mark" is something that Paganism, Catholicism and
apostate Protestantism all hold in common. What could the
The word used for mark in this prophecy is charagma,
and is defined as, "a graving, sculpture; sign, seal, token or a
mark cut in or stamped." This figure of a mark is borrowed from an
ancient custom in which a mark was impressed on the right hand or
forehead of servants and soldiers denoting their allegiance to their
superiors. Of course, we are not to understand in this symbolic prophecy
that a literal mark is intended, but is used as a figure to illustrate
the act of homage. The very same figure of speech is used in the sixth
chapter of Deuteronomy in respect to God's law. "And thou shalt
bind them (the Ten Commandments) for a sign (seal,
token or mark) upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets
between thine eyes (forehead)." Deut. 6:8. (See also Ex.
13:16) Making God's commandments as frontlets between the eyes
represents having His law ingrained or stamped in the mind, so that they
become your way of thinking. It naturally follows that when His
commandments become part of your thinking that you will keep his
commandments as is implied by the binding of them on the right hand. It
also follows that if the binding of God's law represented paying homage
to Him by obedience, then the mark of the beast upon the right hand and
forehead must represent paying homage to the beast by thinking as the
beast and keeping the commandments of the beast.
I would like to make mention that the "mark of
the beast" is not something that can be forced on us against our
will. Certainly pressure will be applied to accept it, but even so, it
is something that we will have a choice in receiving or rejecting. John
gives us evidence of this fact when, after witnessing those that receive
the mark of the beast, he is immediately taken in the spirit to another
class having the "Father’s name written in their foreheads."
Rev. 14:1. (See also Rev. 7:3,4) "And I saw as it were a sea of
glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over
the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of
his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."
Rev. 15:2."...These are they which follow the Lamb
whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being
the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found
no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of
God...Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the
commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."Rev.
14:4,5,12. And again it is said of them: "...the dragon was
wroth with the woman (true church), and went to make war with the
remnant of her seed (true Christians), which keep the commandments of
God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Rev. 12:17.
"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may
have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into
the city." Rev. 22:14.
It is very plain and apparent that they who have
gotten the victory over the beast, his image and his mark; that receive
the "seal of God" and have "the Father’s name
written in their forehead;" who are "redeemed from
among men" and receive the reward of the saints, are those
people that are associated with the keeping of God’s commandments.
Likewise, those that receive the "mark of the beast",
by means of some human tradition, transgress the commandments of God and
receive His condemnation. Jesus spoke of this class when He said:"Why
do ye also transgress the commandments of God by your tradition?...This
people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with
their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do
worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Matthew 15:3,8-9. The "seal of God" and the "mark
of the beast" must deal with some issue concerning obedience to
the law of God.
In Daniel chapter 7 and verse 25 we read, "he
shall...think to change times and laws." The beast power is
clearly shown to have attempted a change in some point of God’s law
pertaining to time. By substitution the "little horn" power
has replaced or changed some article in the law of God with one of its
own traditions so that he "opposeth and exalteth himself above
all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth
in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." 2
Thessalonians 2:4. It is God’s seal that this power has attempted to
replace with his own mark.
Now, from what we have learned so far, it is
perfectly reasonable to conclude that the"mark of the
beast" is the complete opposite of the "seal of
God." It also follows, that if we search the scriptures to find
what constitutes the "seal of God," it will inevitably
lead us to uncover the identity of the "mark of the beast."
Does the Bible give us the clues we need to identify the "seal
of God"? Let’s give it a try.
A well known writer of the 1800's had this to say
about God’s seal: "A seal is used to render valid or authentic
any enactments or laws that a person or power may promulgate...[It] is
used in connection with some law or enactment that demands obedience, or
upon documents that are to be made legal or subject to the provisions of
the law. The idea of law is inseparable from a seal...
"In a gospel prophecy found in Isaiah 8, we
read: ‘Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.’
This must refer to a work of reviving in the minds of the disciples some
of the claims of the law which had been overlooked, or perverted from
their true meaning, and this, in the prophecy, is called sealing the
law, or restoring to it its seal, which had been taken from it.
"Again, the 144,000, who [in Rev. 7]...are said
to be sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads, are again brought
to view in Rev.14:1, where they are said to have the Father's name
written in their foreheads.
"From the foregoing reasoning, facts, and
declarations of Scripture, two conclusions inevitably follow:-
"1. The seal of God is found in connection with
the law of God.
"2. The seal of God is that part of his law
which contains his name, or descriptive title, showing who he is, the
extent of his dominion, and his right to rule.
"The law of God is admitted by all the leading
evangelical denominations to be summarily contained in the decalogue, or
ten commandments. (See Appendix G, Confessions of Faith on God’s law)
We have, then, but to examine these commandments to see which one it is
that constitutes the seal of the law, or, in other words, makes known
the true God, the law-making power. The first three commandments mention
the word God; but we cannot tell from these who is meant, for there are
multitudes of objects to which this name is applied. There are "gods
many and lords many," as the apostle says. 1Cor.8:5. Passing
over the fourth commandment for the time being, the fifth contains the
words Lord and God, but does not define them; and the remaining five
precepts do not contain the name of God at all. Now what shall be done?
With that portion of the law which we have examined, it would be
impossible to convict the grossest idolater of sin. The worshiper of
images could say, This idol before me is my god; his name is god, and
these are his precepts. The worshiper of the heavenly bodies could also
say, the sun is my god, and I worship him according to this law. Thus,
without the fourth commandment, the decalogue is null and void, so far
as it pertains to enforcing the worship of the true God. But let us now
add the fourth commandment, restore to the law this precept, which many
are ready to contend has been expunged, and see how the case will then
stand. As we examine this commandment, which contains the declaration,
"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all
that in them is," etc., we see at once that we are reading the
requirements of Him who created all things. The sun, then, is not the
God of the decalogue; the true God is he who made the sun. No object in
heaven or earth is the being who here demands obedience; for the God of
this law is the one who made all created things. Now we have a weapon
against idolatry. Now this law can no longer be applied to false gods,
who "have not made the heavens and the earth."
Jer.10:11. Now the author of this law has declared who he is, the extent
of his dominion, and his right to rule; for every created intelligence
must at once assent that He who is the Creator of all, has a right to
demand obedience from all his creatures. Thus with the fourth
commandment in its place, this wonderful document, the decalogue, the
only document among men which God ever wrote with his own finger, has a
signature; it has that which renders it intelligible and authentic;
it has a seal.
"But without the fourth commandment, it lacks
all these things.
"From the foregoing reasoning, it is evident
that the fourth commandment constitutes the seal of the law of God, or
the seal of God.
"But the Scriptures do not leave us without
direct testimony on this point. We have seen above that in Scripture
usage, sign, seal, token, and mark are synonymous terms. Now the Lord
expressly says that the Sabbath is a sign between him and his people. ‘Verily
my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you
throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that
doth sanctify you.’ Ex.31:13. The same fact is again stated by the
prophet Ezekiel, chapter 20:12,20. Here the Lord told his people that
the very object of their keeping the Sabbath, that is, observing the
fourth commandment, was that they might know that he was the true God.
This is the same as if the Lord had said, "The Sabbath is a
seal. On my part it is the seal of my authority, the sign that I have
the right to command obedience; on your part it is a token that you take
me to be your God." Daniel and the Revelation, Uriah
A Multifaceted Word
The word Sabbath in itself is an interesting item.
Although the word Sabbath has been interpreted to mean rest, it is
actually derived from the combination of three Hebrew words. The first
of which is Sab, meaning "our holy or learned father";
secondly B, meaning "house or dwelling place"; and
lastly Oth, meaning "sign or seal". ( Derived from Strong’s
Exhaustive Concordance ) When put together we have Sabbath:
"The dwelling place of our Holy Father’s seal." It
is no wonder, then, that the LORD uses these very words after HE wrote
the HIS eternal Ten Commandments in stone and gave them to Moses; "Wherefore
the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath
throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign
(Strong’s #226-oth: seal or mark) between me and the children
of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and
earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."
As to the continuance of the Sabbath through all
ages, scripture makes it very clear that "For as the new
heavens and the new earth, which I will make,
shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name
remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another,
and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship
before me, saith the Lord." Isa. 66:22,23. The Lord clearly
revealed to Isaiah, in vision, that as long as there is a creation and
created beings there will be a memorial to the One who created them. His
stamp, seal or signature, whichever you prefer, will always be upon His
Sign of the Overcomer
Some claim that the Sabbath is only for the children
of Israel and not for the Gentiles. Actually they are correct. You see,
the word Israel means "overcomer" and all that overcome sin in
the name of Christ are the children of Israel. A Gentile is only a
Gentile as long as he chooses to be. "If ye be Christ’s, then
are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."
Gal. 3:29. "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in
the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write
upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God,
which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and
I will write upon him my new name....To him that overcometh
will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father in his throne." Rev 3:12,21.
(See also Rom. 2:28-29; 11:25-26; 1Peter 2:9-10)
When we completely give ourselves to Christ (rest in
Christ) and truly believe that He is able to do what He promises (Heb.
11& Rom. 4:21), He gives us victory over sin and frees us from the
penalty of the law (Roman 6:23). Then, by faith we become "overcomers"
[Israel] through the merits of Jesus and become true keepers of His
commandments in our hearts (Hebrews 8:10-12). Victory through Christ! No
longer Gentiles! We become the children of Israel by "adoption."
(Gal. 4:5.) "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the
children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh
persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now...for
the son of the bondwoman [those in bondage to sin] shall not be
heir with the son of the free woman [those that overcome sin through
the grace of Christ]. So then, brethren, we are not children of the
bondwoman, but of the free [free from sin & penalty of the law]."
We, in ourselves, have no power to do this. It can
only happen if we learn to love God with all our heart, and let Him work
in us and through us (Phil. 2:13). Then He will write His law in our
hearts and minds, and we will want to keep His law and obey (Heb. 8:10).
Keeping His commandments will become a delight (1John 5:3; Psalm 40:8)
and the Sabbath will become a special, joyous time to spend with our
Lord (Isa. 58:13,14).
Salvation Through Rest
There are some that would argue that keeping the
Sabbath or any of the ten commandments is salvation through works, and
that the ten commandments were done away with at the cross along with
the old covenant. (See appendix D, What was nailed to the
those that would argue such, I would only ask these questions: If the
ten commandments are done away with, then, is it now alright to murder
or to commit adultery? Is it alright to worship idols, to have other
gods, or to use the Lord’s name in vain? Can I show disrespect for my
father and mother without God’s condemnation? Is it now righteous to
lie or steal? With the moral law out of the way, surely I can now covet
and lust all I want?
It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? James tells us "For
whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is
guilty of all." James 2:10. By breaking just the 4th
commandment alone one would be guilty of breaking all of these other
commandments as well.
The keeping of the Sabbath is salvation through rest,
not works. It is a symbol of resting from the works of the flesh. In
fact, if we look closely at the other nine commandments we will find
that they are all commandments to rest as well. The first commandment
requires us to rest from making other gods. "Thou shalt have
no other gods before me," that is to say "you will
rest from worshiping other things besides me." The second
commandment requires rest from making idols and the third from using the
LORD’s name in vain. "Thou shalt not kill...thou shalt not
commit adultery...thou shalt not steal...thou shalt not bear false
witness...thou shalt not covet." All but the fifth commandment
openly tell us "thou shalt not" in one form or another,
but if we look closely we can see that even the fifth which commands us
to "honour thy father and mother" in essence commands
us not to dishonour or show disrespect toward them. It now
becomes crystal clear that God never required any great task to be
performed for salvation. HE simply says to us, "rest," and
when we rest from our own works and allow Him to work in us (Col. 1:27
& Heb. 13:21), we honor HIM and keep HIS commandments.
"Remember the Sabbath day." Exodus
20:8. But why has God commanded us to remember the Sabbath? Is it not to
remind us to rest from sin all through the week? It would be
hypocritical to rest from sin only one day a week, would it not? If man
had always remembered to keep the Sabbath holy in its true sense, there
would never have been an atheist or an infidel in our world; but Satan
has made an effort to keep God out of the mind, and has worked his plans
to accomplish this; and having banished God from the memory of mankind,
he puts himself, if possible, in the place of God. It was for this very
reason God set up the Sabbath as a reminder. "Speak thou also
unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep:
for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that
ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you."
Exodus 31:13. "Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a
sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify
them." Ezekiel 20:12. So long as we remember the true
spirit of the Sabbath, every day of the week, we will remember our
Creator and our great obligation to Him and His moral law and that only
HE can give us strength to obey.
By now it has become quite apparent from the above
verses that the Sabbath is really a symbol of sanctification (removal of
sin from our lives), for it is written in Hebrews 4:10 that "there
remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is
entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works,
as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest,
lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" as did
ancient Israel. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. Resting
from sin is what the Sabbath is all about.
In the third chapter of the first epistle of John we
read: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for
sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4. To do
away with the moral law is just an excuse to justify sin. To remove the
moral law and the Sabbath would give excuse or license for every form of
sin. Teaching that the moral law has been done away with has been the
foremost cause of moral degeneracy in the world. Without understanding
the true spirit of the Sabbath there can be no true sanctification.
The Two Covenants
"Many of the misunderstandings about God's moral
law are rooted in a lack of knowledge concerning the two covenants. It
has become common practice to use the terms Old Covenant and Ten
Commandments interchangeably as though they are one and the same thing.
Is this Biblically correct?
"First of all, we need to understand what a
covenant is. Basically a covenant is an agreement or contract between
two parties based on mutual promises. In the past God has established
pacts or covenants with individuals such as Abraham, Moses, David and
with the entire nation of Israel, but the most important covenant ever
made was set up before this world ever came into existence. It was the
covenant made between the Father and the Son way back in the vast
eternity of the past. A pact was made for dealing with the eventuality
of sin in which Jesus would offer Himself as the "Lamb slain
from the foundation of the world" Rev. 13:8. He would become
the atoning sacrifice to redeem man, should our first parents, Adam and
Eve, choose to sin.
"That eternal covenant has never been changed or
superseded in any way. Even though God has established many other
covenants throughout the history of man, the terms of that first
covenant have remained the same. The simple provision of salvation
through faith has remained in effect from the very beginning for every
person who is willing to accept it.
"Of all the covenants mentioned in the Bible the
one that has caused the most confusion, without a doubt, is the one
designated as the "Old Covenant" by the apostle Paul. In the
book of Hebrews he clearly tells us that the Old Covenant was faulty,
and he goes on to describe a new and better covenant that has some very
important advantages over the old. See how he describes the two: "But
now hath he 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. For finding fault with them [the
people], he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I
will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of
Judah: Not 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. For this is the covenant
that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the
Lord; 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: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, 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. In that
he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which
decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." Hebrews
"Clearly Paul’s description leaves no room for
doubt. The Old Covenant was set aside for a more favorable one based on
better promises; one in which God, Himself, will put His laws in our
minds and write them upon our hearts. Millions have been taught that the
Old Covenant that was set aside was the Ten Commandments, and they boast
of being set free from the law and the Old Testament covenant of works.
Old Covenant Not the Ten Commandments
"If the Ten Commandments did vanish away with
the Old Covenant, as some believe, we are immediately faced with some
very serious problems. Let us take a look at these problems one at a
time and compare scripture with scripture to resolve them.
"First of all, Paul tells us that the Old
Covenant had some poor promises in it. He also tells us that the New
Covenant "was established upon better promises." Heb.
8:6. Let me ask, has anyone ever found any poor promises in the Ten
Commandments? Never! Even Paul declares to the contrary that they were
very good. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is
right. Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment
with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live
long on earth." Eph. 6:1-3.
"This scripture alone is sufficient to show that
Paul was not attributing any poor promises to the moral law. Whatever
the Old Covenant may be, it could never be the Ten Commandments.
"The second thing Paul says was wrong with the
Old Covenant, was that it was faulty. He declares, "For if that
first had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the
second." Heb. 8:7. Let me ask another question: Has anyone ever
found a fault or flaw in God’s own handwriting? Remember, God wrote
the Ten Commandments with His own finger (Exodus 31:18). David declared "The
law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7,
and Paul wrote, "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment
holy, and just, and good." Romans 7:12.
"How can something be perfect and faulty at the
same time? By now it should be obvious that two different things are
being spoken of.
"Finally, we are told that the Old Covenant was
to be abolished. "In that He saith, a new covenant, He hath made
the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish
away." Heb. 8:13. (See also 1Cor. 3:7) Now comes the question
that should settle every doubt in the matter. Did the great moral law of
Ten Commandments vanish away? Anyone who has read the New Testament must
answer, absolutely not. Paul affirms the exact opposite about the law.
He asked, "Do we than make void the law through faith? God
forbid: yea, we establish the law." Romans 3:31.
"Does the Bible contradict itself? How can
something vanish away and be established at the same time? Did Paul say
opposite things about the same law? Just to be certain that he was not
saying that the Old Covenant was the law, let us use the words "Old
Covenant" in place of the word "law" in that same verse. "Do
we than make void the Old Covenant through faith? God forbid: yea, we
establish the Old Covenant."
"That doesn't sound right at all, does it? We
have already confirmed that the Old Covenant had vanished away and could
never be spoken of in this way. So, as you can see, there can no longer
be any doubt that the Old Covenant which came to an end could not have
been the Ten Commandments.
So, What Was the Old Covenant?
"Now that we know what the Old Covenant was not,
we can go to the Bible and discover what it was. In order to do so, we
must go all the way back to the book of Exodus. God called Moses up into
mount Sinai, even before He gave the law, and proposed a covenant
between Him and His people: "And Moses went up unto God, and the
Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to
the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;...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...an holy nation. These are the words which thou shall
speak unto the children of Israel." Exodus 19:3-6.
"God asked Moses to go and present His special
offer to the people, and in so doing, we have here all the elements of a
true covenant. Conditions and promises are laid down for both sides, and
if the children of Israel accept God's proposal, a covenant will be
established. How did the people respond to the divine offer? "And
Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before
their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the
people answered together, and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will
do. And Moses returned the words of the people onto the Lord."
Exodus 19: 7,8.
"Just as soon as Moses returned their answer to
God, the basis for the Old Covenant was set up, and as with any
contract, there had to be a sealing or ratifying of that pact before it
was official. As we will learn later, this was a special kind of
covenant that required the shedding of blood, and we find this
ritualistic service described in Exodus 24:4-8: "And Moses wrote
all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded
an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve
tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which
offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the
LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half
of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the
covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All
that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took
the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood
of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all
"Again we are reminded that this covenant was
not the law itself but was made ‘concerning all these words.’
The Ten Commandments were the basis for the agreement. The people
promised to keep that law, and God promised to bless them in return. The
crucial weakness in the whole arrangement revolved around the way Israel
promised. There was no suggestion that they could not fully conform to
every requirement of God. Neither was there any application for divine
assistance. ‘We can do it,’ they insisted. Here is a perfect example
of leaning on the flesh and trusting human strength. The words are
filled with self-confidence. ‘All that the Lord hath said will
we do, and be obedient.’
"Were they able to keep that promise? In spite
of their repeated assurances, they miserably broke their word before
Moses could even get off the mountain with the tables of stone. Do we
begin to see where the poor promises lay in the Old Covenant?
"The book of Hebrews begins to unfold. There God
is reported as "finding fault with them."
Hebrews 8:8. He said, "Because they continued not in my
covenant ... I regarded them not." Verse 9. The blame is placed
squarely upon the human side of the mutual pact. Thus, we can see
exactly why Paul wrote as he did about this Old Covenant in Hebrews 8.
It did gender to bondage, it proved faulty, had poor promises, and
vanished away - all because the people failed to obey their part of the
agreement. Putting all these things together we can see why a new
covenant was desperately needed, which would have better promises.
"How were the New Covenant promises better?
Because God made them, and they guaranteed successful obedience through
His strength alone. ‘I will put my laws into their mind ... I
will be to them a God ... I will be merciful to their
unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I
remember no more.’ Hebrews 8:10-12.
"How was the New Covenant ratified? In the same
manner that the Old was confirmed - by the shedding of blood. But
instead of an ox having to shed its blood, the sinless Son of God would
provide the blood of sprinkling: ‘Now the God of peace, that
brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the
sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you
perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is
well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.’ Hebrews 13:20,
"What a contrast to the weak promises of the
flesh made by Israel at Sinai. Instead of the people's ‘we will do,’
God's New Covenant promise is to ‘make you perfect in every good
work ... working in you.’ It is no longer human effort. It is not
so much you working, but Him ‘working in you.’ And how is
this power made available? ‘Through the blood of the everlasting
covenant.’ Because of what Jesus did on the cross.
The New Covenant
Based On Conversion
"This brings us to the very heart of the New
Covenant operation. Obedience is made possible by the writing of God's
law on the heart. Through spiritual regeneration the mind and heart are
transformed. Christ actually enters into the life of the believer and
imparts His own strength for obedience. By partaking of the divine
nature, the weakest human being begins to live the very life of Jesus
Christ, manifesting His victory, and crucifying the flesh.
"Paul describes that transaction this way: ‘For
what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God
sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,
condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be
fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’
Romans 8:3, 4.
"The word for righteousness is ‘dikaima,’
meaning ‘just requirement’ of the law. In other words, because of
Jesus' sinless life in the flesh, the requirement of the law can be
fulfilled in us. He overcame sin in the same kind of body we have, so
that He could impart that victory to us. He will actually live out His
own holy life of separation from sin in our earthly bodies if we will
permit Him to do so. This is the New Covenant promise for every
believing, trusting child of God. And it is absolutely the only way that
anyone can meet the requirements of the law: ‘Christ in you, the
hope of glory.’ Colossians 1:27. ‘The life which I now live
in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and
gave himself for me.’ Galatians 2:20.
It is most important for us to understand that the
New Covenant law written on the heart is exactly the same law that was
graven on the stone (See 2 Cor. 3). Those great spiritual principles
reflect the very character of God, and form the basis for His
government. The difference is not in the law but in the ministration of
the law. Written only upon the tables of stone, they can only condemn
and minister death, ‘because the carnal mind ... is not subject to
the law of God.’ Romans 8:7. Received into the heart which has
been spiritualized by the converting grace of Christ, the same law
becomes a delight. The beloved John declared, ‘For this is the love
of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not
grievous.’ 1 John 5:3. Not only is the law not grievous for the
Spirit-filled child of God, but obedience becomes a joyful possibility.
The psalmist wrote, ‘I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy
law is within my heart.’ Psalms 40:8.
No Change in the
New Covenant After Calvary
"Since the New Covenant was ratified by the
blood of Christ, it obviously could not have gone into effect until
after Jesus died on the cross. This crucial fact must not be overlooked.
Eternal life or death could hinge upon the proper understanding of this
key point. Paul wrote, ‘For where a testament is, there must also
of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force
after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the
testator liveth.’ Hebrews 9:16, 17. The word ‘testament’ is
the same as the word ‘covenant.’ Only after a man's last will and
testament has been ratified by his death can the provisions be executed.
In the same way, Christ's covenant or testament would begin to operate
just as soon as He had confirmed the covenant by His death at Calvary.
"Another text leaves no question on this issue: ‘Brethren,
I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet
if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.’ Galatians
3:15. Paul is saying here that after a man's death, his will or covenant
cannot be changed. Not one new addition can be made after the death of
the testator. The covenant stands forever exactly as it stood when the
testator died. After the death of Christ, no change whatsoever could be
made in His provisions to save mankind. The conditions were all sealed
and ratified by the shedding of blood. Every requirement had been laid
down clearly by the perfect pattern of His sinless life and provision
had been made for the writing of His magnified law, by the Holy Spirit,
upon the mind of each believer.
"Under the terms of that New Covenant not one
soul would be left to struggle helplessly against the powerful urges of
a fallen nature. ‘Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’
Romans 5:20. Eternal promises rooted in the changeless nature of God
would provide power to overcome every inherited and cultivated weakness.
No wonder the Bible emphasizes the ‘better promises’ of this
glorious new agreement!
"Now it is easy to understand some of the things
Jesus did just before He died. For example, why did He institute the
Lord's Supper before His body had been broken? On the Thursday night
before His agonizing death on Friday, Jesus met with His disciples in
that upper room. Holding the cup in His hands, He said, ‘This is my
blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of
sins.’ Matthew 26:28.
"Isn't it curious that Christ would say those
words before His blood had been shed? He was commanding a memorial for
an event which had not even happened yet! Why? Because it had to be
introduced before His death in order to come under the New Covenant.
Nothing could be added to or taken away after His death or else the
covenant would be broken." Why the Old Covenant Failed,
Pastor Joe Crews, Amazing Facts Publications
The Final Proof
The following is a narration by Pastor Joe Crews to
illustrate the importance of this key point: "...I had just
finished preaching on the subject of the Sabbath in one of my
evangelistic crusades. As I stepped off the platform to greet the people
as they left, three young men blocked my way in the aisle. One of them
addressed me in quite a loud voice - loud enough to cause about fifty
people near the front of the auditorium to stop and listen."
"Brother Joe," he said, "we were
disappointed tonight with the way you put us back under the Old
Covenant. Don't you realize that we are living under the New Covenant
now, and should keep Sunday instead of the Sabbath?"
Although most of the congregation were leaving the
building, the group near the front gathered closer to hear all that the
young men were saying. It was obvious that I would have to take the time
to answer this trio's challenging question. As I suspected, they turned
out to be young seminarians in training at a local Bible college.
Eagerly they held their Bibles in their hands and waited triumphantly
for me to answer.
Usually, I do not like to debate controversial
matters in a public forum, for fear of stirring combative natures, but
there seemed no way to avoid dealing with these ministerial students.
Anyway, they had my path completely blocked, and the circle of listeners
looked at me expectantly for some explanation.
"Well, it seems as though you have studied the
subject of the covenants quite deeply," I suggested.
"Oh, yes," they affirmed, "we know all
about the covenants."
"Good," I replied. "You undoubtedly
know when the Old Covenant was instituted." One of them spoke up
quickly, "It was started at Mt. Sinai."
"And how was it ratified?" I asked. Without
a moment's hesitation one of them answered, "By the sprinkling of
the blood of an ox."
"Very good," I commented, "and how was
the New Covenant ratified?" All three chorused the answer, "By
the blood of Jesus on the cross."
I commended the young men for their knowledge of the
Scriptures and asked them to read me two verses out of their own Bibles -
Hebrews 9:16, 17 and Galatians 3:15. They responded eagerly to the
invitation, and read the verses, commenting on each one after reading.
"We agree that the New Covenant did not go into effect until after
Christ died, and nothing can be added or taken away after He ratified it
on he cross," the spokesman for the group asserted. All three
nodded their heads emphatically over this point.
I said, "Now you must answer two more questions
for me. Here's the first one, and you must think carefully to give me
the correct answer: When did Sunday-keeping begin?" There was a
moment of shocked silence, and then another, and another. The boys
looked at each other, and then down at their feet, and then back at me.
I gently prodded them for the answer, "Surely you can tell me the
answer to this question. You have known all the others, and have
answered correctly. When and why do you think people began keeping
Finally, one of them said, "We keep Sunday in
honor of the resurrection of Jesus." I said, "Then I must ask
you my last question. How could Sunday keeping be a part of the New
Covenant? You just stated that nothing could be added after the death of
Christ. He died on Friday and was resurrected on Sunday. If Sunday was
added after Jesus died, it could never be a part of the New Covenant,
The three young men shuffled their feet, looked
helplessly around, and one of them said, "We'll study into that and
talk to you later." Then they fled from that auditorium as fast as
they could go. I can assure you, also, that they never returned to talk
further about the covenants.
The fact is that Sunday keeping, even if it had
started on the day of the resurrection, would have been three days too
late to get into the New Covenant. Both Bible and history prove that
Sunday was never observed by the apostolic church....
Millions of modern church members regard Sunday as a
sacred day which memorializes the resurrection of Christ. It is
certainly true that Christ arose on the first day of the week, but
nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to keep that day holy. Events such
as the crucifixion and resurrection should mean much to every Christian,
but not one intimation is given in the Bible for observing either Friday
or Sunday. The only day ever commanded for weekly worship is the seventh
day of the week - the same Sabbath Jesus kept during creation week, the
same Sabbath He kept even in His death and the one He will keep with His
people throughout all eternity. Genesis 2:1-3; Isaiah 66:22, 23.
The very strongest reason for rejecting Sunday
worship is that it was not included in the New Covenant requirements
which were ratified by the death of Jesus. If Christ had desired His
resurrection to be memorialized by Sunday keeping, He could have
introduced it on that same Thursday night of the Last Supper. Then it
would have become a part of the New Covenant, along with the Communion
service and foot-washing. Jesus did not hesitate to command the
observance of His death, even though it had not taken place yet. Just as
easily He could have commanded the observance of His resurrection, which
was still future, in order that it might become a New Covenant
requirement. But He did not! And no one else ever did either, until
Paul's prophecy began to be fulfilled about an apostasy following his
departure. Acts 20:29, 30. He spoke also of a falling away which would
lead to the enthronement of Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4. But true
it is that no hint of any change of the law is given in the Scriptures.
The unchangeable moral law was preserved in both Old and New Covenants
as the perfect revelation of God's will.
(For more on this subject see Appendix D Christ and
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