STUDY 5: THE SARAH COVENANT
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
WE will next consider the Sarah features of the Abrahamic Covenant, often referred to as the Sarah, or Grace Covenant. Let us first consider its contents:
Contents of the Sarah Covenant
God’s promises to the Christ class are the contents of the Sarah features of the Covenant (Genesis 22: 17, 18) (Galatians 3: 16, 29). God said, “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, . . . thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” The Sarah features of the Covenant, its three promises, are called the mother of the Christ (Galatians 4: 24; 26-31) because they did for the new creatures what a natural mother does for the embryo: she provides nourishment and development until the embryo is born. Likewise, these promises have provided nourishment for developing the new hearts and minds of the Christ class.
The First Promise
“I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven.” We omitted the part of the promise which says, “and as the sand which is upon the sea shore.” The omitted part belongs to the Abrahamic Covenant, but is not a part of the Sarah Covenant, which consists only of those features of the Abrahamic Covenant which developed the Little Flock. The stars are heavenly objects, while the sands upon the sea shore are earthly. This implies two seeds, one heavenly and the other earthly.
This promise implies that the seed will be spiritual in nature – they will have Divine, indestructible bodies. In order to have Divine bodies, they must first have Divine hearts and minds. This promise also implies that they will have spiritual, Divine sights and associates. They will be presented to, see and be associated with God, as sons and heirs. Additionally, they will have the privilege of always seeing and being associated with the dear Redeemer. Furthermore, it will be their privilege to eternally see and be associated with the members of the Body of Christ. Then again, they will have the privilege of seeing and being with the Great Company, the Angels and the Ancient and Youthful Worthies. Then there is the thought of possession. The whole universe will belong to Christ and the Church as heirs of God.
The Second Promise
“Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” In ancient times, the cities had walls for protection and strength, which is why walls in the symbols of the Bible represent safety, power and protection. They were intended to defend the city that they enclosed against attack. Having control of the gates of a city would mean to have control of the city. How does that apply? There are certain evil qualities entrenched in the human nature, and it was the function of the new nature to gain the victory over these. This is suggested by the words, “Greater is he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” The sins, errors, selfishness and worldliness of the natural hearts and minds acted as enemies to the new nature. These forces were led by Satan, the world and the flesh. Hence the natural hearts and minds are the symbolic city; Satan is the commander-in-chief in this city and the world and the flesh are his lieutenants; and the Canaanites picture the evils of the natural hearts and minds which needed to be overcome. Satan sought to retain control of the city, but God’s army, consisting of four corps – Truth, justice, love and heavenly-mindedness – the new spiritual hearts and minds, surrounded and took possession of this symbolic city.
Another thought is that sometimes when soldiers are hard pressed, it is the privilege of their associates to come to their assistance. This pictures the privilege, as soldiers of Christ, of giving help to their brethren to overcome their enemies – their errors, sinfulness, worldly-mindedness and selfishness.
A third thought is given in 1 Corinthians 15: 25, 26, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” These are not Jesus’ individual enemies, but the enemies of mankind, which will become His enemies, because they are enemies of those whom He died to redeem. These enemies are all the evils that came to mankind through the curse – sin, error and death with all their woes. The seed will overcome, destroy all these enemies in the next Age.
The Third Promise
“In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” This implies seven distinct positive blessings for the human race. The first five are unconditional: (1) they will be released from the Adamic penalty, which implies that the dead will be awakened (Romans 5: 18, 19); (2) they will be furnished with a complete knowledge of the Truth (John 1: 9) (1 Timothy 2: 4); (3) they will be put under conditions conducive to righteousness and inconducive to sin (Luke 2: 10) (Isaiah 35: 1-10); (4) their minds and hearts will be favorably disposed toward Christ (John 12: 32, 33); and (5) they will acknowledge Jesus as Ruler and bow down to His authority (Philippians 2: 9-11).
The other two positive blessings will be offered unconditionally to all, but to receive their benefits, certain conditions must be fulfilled: (6) the privilege of the highway of holiness, but to receive its blessings they must consecrate themselves to the Lord (Isaiah 35: 8-10); and (7) the offer of the holy spirit, but they must render obedience (Joel 2: 28, 29) (Acts 5: 32).
Nature of the Sarah Covenant
The second line of thought regarding the Sarah Covenant is its nature, which is God’s Oath-bound pledges to the Christ. We have already discussed Genesis 22: 16-18, but another passage of Scripture is Galatians 3: 14-18, 29, which we will quote with bracketed comments: “That the blessing of Abraham [the blessing that God gave Abraham] might come on the Gentiles [the nations] through Jesus Christ; that we [the Church, with Jesus the Head] might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith [the two salvations – one to the nations and the other to the Christ, Head and Body]. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men [I put things in a natural way]; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed [established], no man disannuleth, or addeth thereto [even a man’s covenant remains firm after it has been established]. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ [the seed is Jesus and the Church]. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect [the Law Covenant could not destroy this covenant made with the seed]. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise [an unconditional promise to the seed]. And if ye be Christ’s [of the Christ], then are ye Abraham’s seed [the seed of promise], and heirs according to the promise [that they would be given all the aid necessary to make them overcomers, then that they would bless all the families of the earth].” Other Scriptural passages proving the nature of the Sarah Covenant are (Hebrews 6: 12-20) and (Romans 4: 13, 14, 16).
Objects of the Sarah Covenant
The third line of thought regarding the Sarah Covenant are its objects. We will first quote Psalm 50: 5: “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Here the charge is made to God’s people all through the Gospel Age to gather together the saints unto Jesus. These are the consecrated ones who made this covenant with God by sacrifice.
We quote Romans 9: 7, 8 with bracketed comments: “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children [not all of Abraham’s descendants, meant here by the term the seed, are children of antitypical Abraham]: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called [antitypical Isaac, Jesus and the Church]. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed [the Old Testament faithful are the children of the flesh; but the children of God who comprise the seed are Jesus and the Church].”
Time of Operation of the Sarah Covenant
The fourth line of thought is the time of operation of the Sarah Covenant as developer of the seed, and the giver of this covenant is God Himself. The time of operation is the Gospel Age. Hebrews 2: 3, with bracketed comments, proves this: “How shall we escape [lose out], if we neglect so great salvation [the High Calling salvation]; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord [the Lord Jesus was the first one to offer the High Calling], and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him [He offered it first to the Apostles, and to the rest of the Church throughout the Gospel Age].” There was no possibility of escaping a condemnatory sentence from God for those who once consecrated and then neglected to take advantage of that so great salvation.
We will next quote Hebrews 6: 17-20 with bracketed comments: “God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise [Jesus and the Church, during the Gospel Age] the immutability of his counsel [the unchangeableness of His plan], confirmed it by an oath [swore to it]: 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 Jesus] to lay hold upon the hope set before us [during the Gospel Age it is a hope, but not yet realized]: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul [the picture of a ship in a storm; and the hope of the High Calling was an anchor to the soul amid all the storms that came upon the saints during the Gospel Age from the symbolic sea of the world in rebellion against God], both sure [nothing would take it away] and stedfast [it kept the saints immovable upon Christ, as long as they remained faithful], and which entereth into that within the veil [into the antitypical Holy of Holies]; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus [who first ran this way of the High Calling; He has entered within the veil and the Church follows Him in this Gospel Age], made an high priest [who offered the saints to God, and enabled them to carry out their sacrifice] for ever after the order of Melchizedec [who as a king priest represents the Lord during the Gospel Age in glory, and also represents the World’s High Priest, the Christ, Head and Body, in the glory of the kingdom].” Other Scriptural passages that teach the same thing include: (Galatians 3: 2, 3, 5) (Galatians 3: 26-29) (2 Peter 1: 4) and (Revelation 5: 10).
(to be continued)
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