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    08 THE EVERLASTING COVENANT

    IN the preceding general view of the subject, many points have been, of necessity, simply alluded to, which deserve, and will well repay, more special study. To Christ, as a sacrifice, and the methods by which the great fact was kept before the world for four thousand years, that provision had been made for the expiation of sin by the shedding of blood, - provision which alone meets the craving of the human heart, - the reader’s attention will now be specially invited. By David (Psalm 89:3), God says, “I have made a covenant with my chosen.” This must refer to Christ; for it is connected with a promise that can be fulfilled only in Christ. Luke 1:32, 33. In “the counsel of peace” between the Father and the Son, by which the plan of redemption was conceived and established (Zechariah 6:13), God entered into a solemn covenant with his Son to give him all who would accept his sacrifice. John 6:39, 40. This is the covenant of grace, “the everlasting covenant,” ratified by the blood of Christ, and called a “new covenant,” when it was thus completed and confirmed among men, by the death of Christ upon the cross. A covenant subsidiary to this, made with Israel at Sinai, was called the “first,” or “old,” covenant, not because, depending only on the blood of beasts, it could be, and was, ratified and made complete in itself, as recorded in Exodus 24:8; Hebrews 9:17-20, before the other, which involved the real sacrifice for the world, was ratified. The latter could not be said to be completed before Christ, the testator, had sealed it with his own blood on Calvary. Hebrews 9:16, 17.LUJ 47.1

    Christ’s blood was the blood of the everlasting covenant. God’s faithfulness to this covenant, brought Christ from the dead. “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; to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.” Hebrews 13:20, 21. This covenant, “confirmed of God in Christ,” included all the divine, spiritual promises to the children of men. Adam was connected with it by the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. Noah was connected with it, as the second head of the human family, being alone in his generation, found righteous in the earth. Abraham was associated with it by the promise that in him should all the families of the earth be blessed. David was connected with it, by the assurance that his was the throne upon which his seed, Christ, should reign forever and ever. This is called “the sure mercies of David:” for thus saith the prophet: “Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live;and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” Isaiah 55:3. And Paul in his discourse at Antioch (Acts 13:34) connects this, as he afterward wrote to the Hebrews, as already quoted, with the resurrection of Christ. These are his words: “And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.”LUJ 48.1

    In this covenant, securing to Christ the “travail of his soul” (Isaiah 53:11), lies the predestination and foreordination of the Scriptures, so troublesome to many. It is simply the “election of grace,” not of any particular individuals, singled out and made sure of heaven, independent of their own wills, free choice, or mode of action, but only of those who are willing to receive Christ as their Saviour, and do his will. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12. Those whom the Father hath given him are the elect; and all are given to him, who make it their will to accept him; and of these he will lose none, but raise them up at the last day. John 6:39, 40.LUJ 49.1

    When the plan of salvation had been formed, and Christ had elected to give his life for the redemption of men, he was then, already, in the intent and purpose of that plan, the offered victim, and is spoken of as the “Lamb slain” - “slain from the foundation of the world” (kosmos), or from the time when the redemptive economy was established. Revelation 13:8. It will be noticed that he is not said to have been slain before the foundation of the world, implying that the fall of man and redemption by the death of Christ, were events fixed and foreordained before the world was formed, and man created. This would place too powerful a weapon against the divine government, in the hands of the skeptic.LUJ 49.2

    But the disbeliever asks with an air of expected victory, Did not God foreknow that man would sin? Was it not therefore a settled fact that he would sin? And did not God, therefore, when he made man with that certainty before him, become responsible for the entrance of sin into this world? - So it might look from that point of view, and with that method of reasoning. But as theLUJ 49.3

    Scriptures do not so express it, it is not necessary to formulate it to such a conclusion. God made man, as he must make all intelligences who are to serve him, a free moral agent, that such service may not be mechanical and constrained, but voluntary and free. As such, he could obey or disobey; could maintain his rectitude or fall into sin. His course was to be determined by his own choice. God did not force him to sin, nor did he intend that he should sin. On the other hand, he made every possible inducement (short of constraining his free will) to keep him in the path of obedience. Being free, of course God knew that he might sin; but this would be a very different thing from saying that he know that he would sin.LUJ 50.1

    And is not this as far as it is necessary to go? To God’s omniscience, every possible course that Adam might take as a free spirit, with a free choice, and every possible contingency that might arise from his uncoerced action, was open and plain. So, also, every step necessary to meet that contingency would be provided for should it occur. But, it will be asked, does not Peter (1 Peter 1:20) say that Christ was foreordained to his work before the foundation of the world? - No; not “foreordained,” as in the common version, but foreknown (prognomenou). Christ could be foreknown, in God’s plan, as a redeemer, to meet a possible contingency of that nature that might arise, without being foreordained to meet a known necessity already in existence. Man chose to sin; then that One foreknown in the counsels of eternity, to meet such a contingency should it arise, entered upon his work, and in the fulness of time was, as Peter says, manifested to the world.LUJ 50.2

    This view of the subject does not restrict the attribute of God’s foreknowledge, but greatly enhances it; it leaves man a free moral agent, as he was; and it leaves the skeptic without a case. Christ could, therefore, properly be spoken of only as slain from the foundation of the world, just as the Scriptures do speak of him; for it would be as manifestly inconsistent to speak of him as slain before the foundation of the world, before the course of man called for such a sacrifice, as it would have been to introduce a type of Christ in the garden of Eden, previous to the fall of man, before a redeemer had become a necessity.LUJ 51.1

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