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DID not the Law Covenant end at the time of our Lord's death? And if it was a type or a foreshadowing of the New Covenant, would not that be the time for the New Covenant to begin? If the New Covenant will not be ratified until the last member of the Church of Christ has suffered with the Head, would not that imply a considerable interim between the fulfilment of the type and the coming of the antitype? And has it not been THE WATCH TOWER'S teaching that where the type ceases the antitype surely begins?
As we have already pointed out on previous occasions many make the mistake of supposing that the Law Covenant ended at the cross. On the contrary, the terms of that Covenant [R4505 : page 327] are binding upon every Jew from the day in which the Covenant was made to the present time—as St. Paul says, "The Law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth." (Rom. 7:1.) Every Jew to-day is under a death condemnation, by virtue of that Law which he is under, yet cannot keep. There are only two possible ways of his getting free from that bondage:
(1) With the end of this age the great High Priest will antitypically offer the blood of "the Lord's goat" "for the sins of all the people"; and this will include the sins of Israel. And then the blessed opportunities of the New Covenant will be opened to them, as God promised. (Jer. 31:31; Rom. 11:27-31.) Then their eyes will be opened and they will see out of their obscurity and gladly accept the Mediator of the New Covenant and begin at once to share that Covenant's blessings.
(2) For any Jew to get free from the Law Covenant before the inauguration of the New Covenant in the times of restitution, he must die to the Law. As St. Paul declares, "The Law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth." "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the Law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead." (Rom. 7:1,4.) This is in full accord with the Apostle's statement, "Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth"—to the extent of becoming a follower of Christ and consecrating his restitution rights in death, a living sacrifice, following the example of his Redeemer. (Rom. 10:4.) The present being the time appointed of the Father as the "acceptable year of the Lord" (Isa. 61:2), the "acceptable time" when God is willing to receive sacrifices (first the sacrifice of Jesus, and, subsequently, the sacrificing of those justified by his blood, his followers, who present their bodies (Rom. 12:1), the Jews have as good an opportunity of thus entering into joint-heirship with Christ, the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, as have the Gentiles. And they have no better opportunity, because there is no other name and no other manner now open to any to obtain a share in the "high calling" to the divine nature, glory and honor.
St. Paul, in writing to the Galatians, warning them against coming under the domination of the Law, does not at all intimate that the Law Covenant had passed away or become dead. On the contrary, he testified that if any would be circumcised they would become "a debtor to do the whole law." (Gal. 5:3.) In the Epistle of Hebrews St. Paul mentions the fact that the New Covenant was promised and that the very intimation of the word new signified that the Law Covenant had become old, and hence was "ready to vanish away" and lose its force entirely. But he did not say that it had passed away. His plain teaching was that those who by faith accepted the Lord Jesus and became dead with him by baptism into his death were thus made "free from the Law" and were thereafter "not under the Law [Covenant] but under the Grace [Covenant—the Abrahamic Covenant.]"—Gal. 5:18.
One Scripture more requires to be mentioned on this line: "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was contrary to us (Hebrews), and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." (Col. 2:14.) This signifies, not that the Law Covenant was abrogated or done away, but that, so far as the Jews who had accepted Christ were concerned, the demands of all of the Law's ordinances were fully met for them by the Lord Jesus when he was nailed to the cross.
Another evidence that the Law Covenant did not cease when Jesus died, and has not yet ceased, is furnished us in the type of Hagar and her son Ishmael. The Apostle tells us that Hagar allegorically represented the Law Covenant and that Ishmael symbolically represented fleshly Israel, the children of that Covenant. He cites the fact that when the heir, Isaac, was born, the son of the Sarah Covenant, God said to Abraham, "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman." (Gal. 4:30.) This signifies that the Law Covenant and its Jewish children were to be outcast from Divine favor for a time. If Hagar had died at that time, the teaching of the type would have been that the Law Covenant ceased then to exist. But Hagar continued to live, and so the Law Covenant was continued, and still has power over every Jew as long as he liveth. If we trace the type further we find that subsequently Hagar returned and was subject to her mistress, and Ishmael, who represented the Israelites, received later a blessing from Abraham, who represented God.
So then, the Law Covenant did not pass away when our Lord Jesus died, nor when he arose from the dead the antitype of Isaac. Consequently the antitypical New Covenant was not ushered in at that time. Nevertheless, as we have heretofore pointed out, when our Lord presented himself in baptism, saying, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God" (Heb. 10:7), he set aside the first (the typical) sacrifice that he might establish the second (the antitypical) sacrifice. The three and a half years of his own sacrificial ministry were typified in the killing of the bullock of the day of atonement. Immediately on his ascension, applying his blood on our behalf for our reconciliation to the Father that we might become his joint-sacrificers, he at once began the secondary part of the Day of Atonement sacrifices—the killing of "the Lord's goat" taken "from the people" and whose blood would subsequently be applied "for all the people."
This sacrificing of the Church, in one sense, was done by the great High Priest on the Day of Pentecost. But it has been a progressive work, and all of the sacrifice is not yet accomplished, and will not be until the last member of the Body shall have gone into sacrificial death, in the Redeemer's footsteps. Thus we see that the setting aside of the type and the establishing of the antitype required a long period. And this Atonement Day matter, while all-important, was by no means the only typical feature of the Law Covenant. Did it not foreshadow the coming out of the High Priest in garments of glory and beauty to bless the people? And is not this feature of the Law still unfulfilled? And can it pass away before this fulfilment? We hold that it cannot, and that the instant of its passing away will be the instant in which the New Covenant will come into force with the same people—Israel.