For sixteen centuries the Jews were allowed to try to prove their ability to keep the Law and gain the reward of life and glory. Sad experience proved to some few of them their inability and the fact that the Law ordained unto life was really a ministration of condemnation to them, and could, never be anything else, because the Law was not suited to them nor were they suited to it. They were all born in sin and shapen in iniquity; their tendencies were toward unrighteousness.
They were constitutionally sinful, and the perfect standard of the Law was unattainable by them. (Rom. 7: 10, 12-19; 8: 3; 2 Cor. 3 : 7.) Had they been favoured with some arrangement by which the sinful tendencies of the fallen flesh could have been set aside, and not counted against them, it would have gone much better with them. But there was no such provision in the Law Covenant; it was merely “do and live.” The natural depravity of the flesh was a constant and insurmountable obstacle to their efforts at keeping the Law. Though with their minds some of them delighted in the Law, these could not bring the flesh into subjection, and therefore those Jews who realised the situation were in a state of despair, described by the Apostle’s words,
“O wretcbed man that I am ! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”
— Rom. 7 : 25.
The Law Covenant failed in its attempt to make good the first portion of the Abrahamic Covenant or Promise, but it served other ends. Though it had not the substance, it was a shadow of good things to come (Heb. 10: 1; 8: 5); though it could not deliver the prisoners of Sin and Death, it did serve to make Sin appear exceeding sinful. (Gal. 3: 19; Rom. 7: 13.)
And whereas it did not fulfil the Abrahamic Covenant, neither did it interfere to prevent the fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham, so as to make this promise of none effect. (Gal. 3: 17.) It has not up till the present time been finished to the extent described in Lev. 26: 38-46; yet, as a would-be fulfiller of the divine purpose expressed in the promise to Abraham, it has been set aside “for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.” (Heb. 7: 18, 19; 8: 7.) It could
“never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year, for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” — Heb. 10: 1-4.
One Jew — Jesus — was approved of the Law, and under its provisions was entitled to everlasting life; but He had come into the world for the express purpose of dying for our sins (Heb. 2: 9), therefore He relinquished His right to the reward of Ex. 19: 6. But God raised Him from death, and conferred upon Him the dual office of King and Priest, as the “Seed,” as He had before sworn to do, saying,
“Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec.” — Psalm 110: 4; Heb. 7: 11-18,
The effect of setting aside the Law Covenant, as weak and unprofitable through the flesh, was to leave the Abrahamic promise as it had been before the Law was introduced — a grand promise of a Seed to bless all the families of the earth, the privilege of having the Blesser in his line having been made sure to Abraham by the divine word and oath. (Heb. 6: 13-18.)
“13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all contradiction. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:” (Heb 6:13-18 Webster)
But this promise, grand and glorious though it be, contains no provision for its own fulfilment; for the eradication of sin and the destruction of death are essential to a permanent blessing. The impotence of the Law Covenant to accomplish thee has been so fully demonstrated that it has been found fault with and set aside from further attempts. What is now to be done?
Some other attempt must be made to overcome the difficulties of sin and death.
Must God try another experiment?
No; He does not experiment, for He knows the end from the beginning.
He foreknew and foretold the failure of the Law Covenant, and its sacrifices. Jesus was the
“Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,”
“If that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second,”
said the Apostle, who also said of Jesus,
“He taketh away the first, that lie may establish the second.” (Heb. 8: 7; 10: 9.)
Thus is brought to our notice “The New Covenant”
The New Covenant
This covenant is instituted on better promises than those of the Law Covenant (Heb. 8: 6) ; it has Jesus as the covenant-victim, His death as its ratifying sacrifice (Heb. 9: 16) and Himself, by virtue of that sacrifice, as its Mediator. (1 Tim. 2 : 5 , 6 ; Heb. 9:15.) As He is Mediator of the New Covenant, instituted upon better promises, His Priesthood is correspondingly better than was Aaron’s; so much better is it that He is able to
“save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” — Heb. 8: 6; 7: 10, 20, 22, 24, 25.