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[R4389 : page 139]

QUESTIONS ON THE COVENANTS

Question—(1) From Exodus 24 th it appears that it was the blood of the peace-offerings and of burnt-offerings (not of sin-offerings) which sealed the Law Covenant. Should we not understand the same to hold in regard to the New Covenant?

Answer—The sin-offering, burnt-offering and peace-offering evidently pictured the same sacrifices, but from different standpoints. In every case we would understand the bullocks to represent our Lord Jesus and the goats to represent the Church, the under-priesthood. The sin-offerings represented the sufferings of Christ and of all who walk in his footsteps as respects their relationship to the Lord, "Outside the camp," and their course as New Creatures inside the holy and ultimately beyond the second vail in the most holy. And it shows the merit of the sacrifice eventually applied on the mercy-seat, and for whom applied—the blood of the bullock first, for the Church; the blood of the goat afterward, for all the people.

The burnt-offering shows the same sacrifices but from a different standpoint—that of Divine acceptance. It shows that the offering was made to God and accepted by God as a whole, even though, as shown in the sin-offering, the sufferings were inflicted by men and the services rendered unto men.

The peace-offering (Lev. 3) would appear to be another view or picture of the same sacrifices, representing the willingness of the individual who sacrificed—that nothing was of compulsion, so far as God was concerned; and that there was peace between God and the sacrificer, so that the offering was not made for his own sins.

So then, it seems very appropriate that, as described in Exodus 24, it was the blood of peace-offerings and burnt-offerings that sealed the Law Covenant. The sin-offering feature has to do with the satisfaction, but the burnt-offering and peace-offering imply that the sacrificers voluntarily lay down their earthly rights in the interest of those who will be blessed under the New Covenant and that God accepts these sacrifices as sealing that New Covenant—entirely aside from the Atonement for Adamic sin, accomplished by the same sacrifices, viewed from the standpoint of the sin-offering.

Question—(2) The children of Israel, whom God called his firstborn, his own people, etc., had and needed a mediator. Should we not correspondingly expect that Spiritual Israel would require a mediator?

Answer—The children of Israel, from God's standpoint, were a typical people—they represented typically all who would ever become Abraham's seed, on the heavenly and the earthly planes. Thus it is written, "I have made thee a father of many nations." All who will ultimately be saved to relationship with God out of many nations were well represented in the many tribes of Israel.

God took one of those tribes, the tribe of Levi, and separated it from the others for his own special use and as a channel for the blessing and instruction of the other tribes, which represented all the families of the earth. That tribe of Levi, as we have already seen, typified the "household of faith"—all those who will be brought into harmony with God through the Sarah division of the Abrahamic Covenant. These all, as a household of faith, are together styled the firstborn and are developed under the Faith or Grace Covenant, and not under the New (Law) Covenant.

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The tribe of Levi itself was divided, a priestly class being selected, and the remainder of the tribe assisting or serving under them. So in the antitype—a "little flock," a priestly class, is selected for the pre-eminent position and constitutes "Abraham's Seed" on the highest plane, the Divine nature. This class, The Christ, is composed of Jesus, the Head, and the Church, his members. As the center of the Divine blessing this Royal Priesthood, of which the Redeemer is the Head, has a variety of titles and of offices—King, Priest, Judge, Law-Giver, Mediator, Father—and each of these titles indicates a special feature of its service as the Seed of Abraham in blessing all the families of the earth, represented by the remaining tribes.

The other tribes of natural Israel did need a mediator and the mediator was in the specially set apart tribe, Moses represented the entire priestly class and the tribe of Levi in his various functions as mediator between God and the nation.

It is true that God did sometimes speak of natural Israel as his first-born, and similarly Ishmael was the first-born of Abraham. The Apostle Paul calls our attention to this very matter, telling us that natural Israel corresponds to Ishmael, the son of Hagar, who represented the Covenant of bondage. Spiritual Israel constitutes the Church of the First-Born, the Body of Christ, and was never in bondage, being a child of the free woman, "the Heavenly Jerusalem, the mother of us all." The Covenant of Grace was represented by Sarah. It had no mediator and needed none. Why does it need no mediator? Because those chosen under this Covenant of Grace are all at heart loyal to God, lovers of righteousness and haters of iniquity. These the Father was pleased to receive into his family, in response to their faith and consecration. They became members of the Body of the Mediator, who, during the Millennial Age, will represent God to mankind, enforcing his laws and in his name uplifting the willing and obedient.


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