This review is of material presented in convention August 3, 1909 by
Benjamin H. Barton, entitled "God's Covenants." He was a close associate of
Charles Taze Russell, and he supported C.T.R. in the issues which arose as
a result of changed teachings on the new covenant, and teaching on the sin
Such a review would be of little purpose 84 years later, except that
many readers may still have indistinct opinions regarding the subjects, and
may be quite unaware that they themselves may hold interpretations on the
topics which directly contradict Scripture. Inasmuch as: a) the article
appears in the published l909 Convention Reports; b) it was published in
England about 25 years later; and c) that it continues to be reprinted by
two publishers in the United States who endeavor to put it in the hands of
new Christians studying God's word, a fresh, detailed examination of its
concepts may be appreciated.
The publishers of this review, for reasons given in it, recommend close
study of and comparison of the Bible's testimony with the thoughts
presented in the "God's Covenants" article and the article that follows it.
The importance of the discussions which follow will become apparent to
those who take the time to investigate. The suggestions given herein on the
two subjects and related Bible passages will be of spiritual interest even
to readers who lack copies of the article under discussion.
This review goes forth with the grateful acknowledgment that Brothers
Russell and Barton have, on many other topics, given God's people
spiritually-helpful Bible interpretations, admonitions and exhortations.
Page and paragraph numbers are cited for both formats to direct the reader
to the portion discussed in whichever of the two currently-published books
they may find it. First citations are keyed to the articles printed in the
book "What Pastor Russell Taught," from Chicago Republishing Committee;
citations in parentheses are keyed to "Pilgrim Echoes," published by
Portland Area Bible Students.
- 356, par. 4(2) (149, par 4(2)): The intimation here is that those
who do not accept these new teachings may be in jeopardy of the second
- 356, par. 6 (150, par. 1): This paragraph is extremely judgmental
of Christians who would continue to acknowledge that their spiritual
blessings come through their relationship with God in the new covenant. But
let us all commit ourselves "to him that judgeth righteously."--1 Pet. 2:23
- 357, par. 2 (150, par. 4): Honest disagreement is called fault-
finding. That charge is sure to discourage proper investigation by those
who are in sympathy with the accusation.
- 357, par. 4 (150, par. 6): Yes, B.H.B. was "led to believe" the
things which he came to accept. But were they really "truths"?
- 357, par. 5 (150, par. 7): It is not likely that many who have come
to disagree with C.T.R. have done so "hastily." Rather, it has been by
force of Scripture. It appears to us that B.H.B. adopted a very peculiar
process in the course of determining what he came to accept.
- 358, par. 1 (151, par. 1): There are numerous statements in the
book of Hebrews which many find impossible to harmonize with C.T.R.'s
teachings. Let all rejoice in the realization that it does not take a
number of weeks to understand clearly stated Bible teachings.
- 359, par. 2 end (152, par. 2 end): Psalm 50:5 is misapplied. The
passage does not refer to Christian saints, but to the people of Israel in
covenant with God over their animal sacrifices. See Rotherham translation.
Also see the folder, "God's Solemn Promises as
Foregleams," and the discussion of this passage in "Salvation and God's Covenants," page 53, free on
request. Those discussions examine the entire Psalm.
- 360, par. 1 (153, par. 3): Regardless of which or how many
covenants the Apostle had in mind, we can be sure that the promised new
covenant was among them. It is obvious that B.H.B. intentionally left that
important one out. Furthermore, all know that "the blood of Christ" did not
bring the Gentiles (nor the Jews) 'nigh' to the Mosaic law covenant. "The
blood of Christ" brings us into the new covenant and enables us to be
"blessed with faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9). The Apostle Paul could have had
God's promised new covenant in mind in Eph. 2:13 because he knew that it
had become effective at Pentecost.
- 361 (154): An extended consideration of concepts included on that
page is recommended. See the discussion of the "Allegory," in "Salvation and God's Covenants," pages 29-36.
- 364, par. 1 lower (158 top): In Gen. 21:31, Beersheba is assigned
to the name of a place where an agreement-oath was entered between Abraham
and Abimelech. This must have been subsequent to the events of 21:14,19.
There is no intimation of any oaths exchanged by God with Hagar or Ishmael;
also, Gen. 21:31 does not refer to God's oath-bound covenant.
The implication in the article is that the law covenant survived and is
still in effect. But the law covenant was dying in the days of the
apostles! Heb. 8:13 reads, "In that he [God] saith, a new covenant [said
through Jeremiah long before], he hath made the first old. Now that which
decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13). The law
covenant lost its promise. The testimony of God's law-- legal, ceremonial,
prophetic--continues to identify spiritual realities to whoever considers
it. But God does not honor concurrently two divergent covenants which claim
to carry forward the promises of the original (Abrahamic) covenant. The
Apostles recognized the vanishing arrangement and its waning priesthood,
and eventually all its institutions were abolished in the destruction of
Jerusalem, A.D. 68-70.
- 365, par. 2 (158, par. 2): The line of thought in that paragraph
contradicts the plain statement that the new covenant promised of old "has
been established" (Heb. 8:6). No one suggests the absurdity that Sarah was
a 'new wife' to Abraham. God made no covenant with Sarah, thus the
expression "Sarah covenant" is not seen in the Bible.
- 365, par. 2 (159, par. 1): It may be incorrect to teach, as there
done, that "Christ and the Church are developed" under the same covenant.
Sarah brought forth a free son Isaac, typical of Jesus Christ. Jesus
offered Himself to God without sin and was perfected without the benefit of
any intercessory atonement. He met every requirement of God's law and will.
But the church is of "Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is our
mother." "Jerusalem which is above" obviously was not the allegorical
mother of Christ Jesus our Lord, for there was no Jerusalem which is
above, or New Jerusalem, during the time of His development and perfecting.
"Jerusalem which is above" became established through His power and
authority as the risen Christ. Following His resurrection, a further
arrangement was instituted for the bringing forth of spiritual children.
Jesus gave instruction of this when He said, "This cup is the new covenant
in my blood, which is shed for you." Those to whom Jesus spoke the words,
"shed for you," were of the house of Israel to whom God's new covenant was
promised, and with whom it was made.
Gal. 4:24-26 reads, "...for these [women] are [represent] two covenants;
the one...which is Hagar...answereth to [corresponds to, is in the same
rank with] Jerusalem which now is...but Jerusalem which is above is free,
which is our mother." The sense of the text is that the other woman
represents "Jerusalem which is above," and it is that which is "our
mother," not Sarah. Because that Jerusalem is declared to be "free," we,
too, as Isaac was, are free children (not born to bondage). See "Salvation and God's Covenants" book, pages 30-36,
with table on page 35, with its discussion of the Galatians allegory. Free
- 365, par. 3 (159, par. 2): Neither "covenant of grace" or "grace
covenant" terms are found in the Bible. Attaching either term to one of
God's covenant suggests that other covenants may not be of grace. God's
covenant with Abraham contained many "unmerited" promises, but it did not
have provisions in it through which sin could be forgiven. God's grace of
forgiveness of sin is carried out through His new covenant, the only
covenant with which blood of redemptive value is identified. It was sealed
by and became effective through the blood of Christ. Inasmuch as salvation
comes only through the blood of Christ-- the blood of the new covenant--all
those in the new covenant are of the "many more children" in fulfillment of
the promise to "the desolate" freewoman (Isa. 54:1, Gal. 4:27).
- 366, par. I (159, par. 3): God's covenant with Abraham promised a
seed, but contained no process for the cleansing, reconciliation and
sanctification of that seed.
- 366, par. 2 (160, par. 1): It is the new covenant that is
personified in the allegory, represented by a woman--Sarah: "...for these
[women] are [represent] two covenants; the one...which is Hagar...answereth
to [corresponds to, is in the same rank with] Jerusalem which now is, and
is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free,
which is our mother" (Gal. 4:24). The apostle says that, allegorically,
Sarah corresponds to that which is our mother.
- 366, par. 4 (160, par. 3): The opening sentence may be inexact in
two aspects. It may be better to say believers are 'in' a covenant, rather
than 'under' one. And we have become of the 'seed' promised 4000 years ago
in God's covenant with Abraham, through the provisions of the new covenant,
the only covenant which brings forgiveness of sins.
Please see extensive discussion of Rom. 11:25-27 in FF folder,
"When[ever] I May Take Away Their Sins,"
available free on request, as to when this new covenant took effect.
- 367, par. 1 (160, par. 4): The writer of Rom. 11:26,27 drew from
the prophecies in Isa. 59:20,21 and Isa. 27:9, which describe the
acceptance of members of natural Israel as "sons of God" into the early
church. Those prophecies help to an understanding of the principal
teachings in Romans 11.
- 367, par. 2 (160, par. 5): Statements in the first 3 lines of that
paragraph that Jer. 31:29-34 will not be true "until the Millennial reign
of the Lord Jesus Christ" conflict with both New and Old Testament
teachings. Firstly, Heb. 8:6-13 affirms to the Hebrews of the time of the
epistle that God had made a new covenant with the house of Israel.
Secondly, Ezek. 18:1-4 clearly states that the proverb quoted in Jer. 31:29
would no longer be used "in Israel," the very people spoken of in Jer.
31:31-34, and affirms the statement in Jer. 31:30. Each person in the time
of Jeremiah and Ezekiel would be accountable for the results of his own
action. If he would not, as directed (Jer. 27:12), submit to the Babylonian
captivity, he would suffer death by the sword, by famine or by pestilence
(Jer. 27:13, 29:15-19). Of course such death would not have been "second
death," nor was such meant in its previous sayings. But second death is
implied of those involved in the new covenant.
- 367, par. 2 (160, par. 5): The applicability of Jer. 31:34 is not
limited to during or after the Millennial age. The meaning is not of all
mankind, but restricted to the "least of them to the greatest of them" who
are in the new covenant, from Pentecost forward. See discussion of this and
of Jeremiah's two other uses of the phrase in "Salvation and God's Covenants," page 44, par. l.
- 367, par. 2 end (161, top block): One publisher dropped a word from
the original. B.H.B. wrote, "...and the New Law covenant..." (or perhaps
"...the new Law Covenant..."). Inserting the word 'law' into 'New Covenant'
was a practice introduced to impress the opinion that the new covenant is
to be made with Israel in the present middle east with the rigidity of a
law of commandments. But God does not deal with or employ such strictures
when He writes His law in hearts today, nor is He likely to do so tomorrow.
- 368, par. 1 (161, par. 1): The "seeming discrepancy" between Jer.
31:32 and Heb. 8:9 is due to the fact that Paul quoted from and used the
Septuagint, and the Greek for the former is the same as the Greek for the
latter. B.H.B. examines, "although I was an husband unto them, saith the
LORD" and its marginal reading, "should I have continued a husband unto
them." The only two words we thought possibly connected to deserve
investigation in that KJV wording is 'although' and 'husband.' Strong's
Concordance gives no source word number for the former. Neither of two
Gesenius' Lexicons gives any concept 320>under 'husband' as B.H.B. infers.
If anyone understands what B.H.B. had in mind in this place, we would
appreciate being informed.
- 368, par. 1 end (162 top): Jer. 31:32 and Heb. 8:9 both have "and I
regarded them not," put in past tense (see Septuagint, translated
'disregarded'). That was past tense from Jeremiah's time. So the time when
God found them to be continuing "not in my covenant" was from Jeremiah's
time and before. Thus, there is no justification in the interpretation
expressed, revealed by words in the article: "...seeing the people of
Israel were treating the children of the Abrahamic Covenant somewhat like
Ishmael treated Isaac..." Those words, though perhaps not clear to all,
have in mind the persecution by Jews either of Jesus and His disciples, or
of Christian believers in the early church. Assuredly, B.H.B. had in mind
one of those identities, for the closing phrase, "...until the entire Isaac
Seed had been developed," shows that by his phrase, "children of the
Abrahamic Covenant" he made reference to Christian believers. But there
were no Christian believers, disciples of the antitypical Isaac, in
Jeremiah's time when God 'disrgarded' His typical people. But B.H.B. held
those thoughts and entered them there to support his next-to-follow
interpretation of "after those days."
Heb. 8:7,8 leads into "after those days": "For finding fault with them
he saith, Behold the days come..." God found fault with His people even
prior to the time of Jeremiah. Scripture indicates that fleshly Israel from
their earliest experience with the Lord, and under their covenant, often
"continued not in My covenant." Their acts of disobedience in the
wilderness under the covenant were of such magnitude and historical
remembrance as to be recalled by the simple expression, "as in the
provocation" (Heb. 3:8,15). They murmured against Moses (Exod. 16:2, 17:2,
Num. 11:1); sinned in calf worship (Exod. 32:1-29); were dissatisfied with
having only manna (Num. 11:6- 33); rejected the report of the faithful
spies (Num. 13:1-14:39). These and other provocations were summed up as
that they had tempted the LORD "now these ten times" (Num. 14:22). But this
was only the beginning of their history in which "they continued not in My
covenant." Because of the poor response by these natural descendants of
Abraham, the one with whom God had covenanted concerning a seed to bless
others, the LORD testified at a later time with special reference to their
wilderness provocations: "I wrought for My name's sake, that it [My name]
should not be polluted before the heathen" (Ezek. 20:14,22,44). This
prophecy was made about the time that Jeremiah prophesied. The chronology
used in Clarke's Commentary dates Jer. 31 as 587 B.C. and Ezek. 20 as 593
B.C. That was long before the brief proclamation by Jesus of the rejection
of fleshly Israel. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets,
and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered
thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her
wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left [that is, abandoned]
unto you [desolate]."--Matt. 23:37,38
Furthermore, Heb. 8:7,8 has an additional element which defines the days
when the Lord made promise of a new covenant. These were days in which the
first covenant was found to be not faultless; days when "finding fault with
them," the Lord saw it timely and good to promise a new covenant. These
were days up to the prophecies of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others, preceding
which the Lord had found fault with Israel for more than a thousand years.
The prophecy stipulated that the new covenant would be made "after those
days," but did not specify how long after. Events recorded in the New
Testament provide the answer.
- 368, par. 2 (162, par. 1): In the first sentence under the subhead
"After Those Days," page 162, B.H.B. admits that the purpose of his
discussion of Heb. 8:9 is to prove "those days" continue up until the
Millennial Age. But Scripture itself proves such teaching to be not valid.
It is good to define the different concepts that become involved in any
discussion of prophecy. "After those days" and "those days of disfavor" are
set forth in Scripture as distinctly different periods, and confusion may
be created if they be combined, as in his paragraph. We commend
consideration of three FF folders, "Mercy Upon Zion," "...Today I Declare that I Will Restore to You
Double," and "Fathers - Fishers - Doubles - The Land," which will be
sent on request.
- 369, par. 1 (162, par. 2): Just a simple reading of Jer. 32:36-44
will reveal that the prophet warned of destruction by Babylon, and promised
a regathering after that punishment. His blessing was to be "of them, and
of their children after them" (vs.39). That detail is important, for it was
after a few generations that the "everlasting covenant" was made with all
of them who would receive it. Of those generations it was said, "that they
shall not depart from me" (vs. 40). And it was so: a faith remnant remained
and it was from them that a later remnant received Jesus. It was to
evidence his own faith in the promises written in Jer. 32:43,44 that the
prophet himself did that which is recorded of him in verses 7-16.
Note prophetic uses of the word "fury." It appears repeatedly in God's
warning of the Babylonian punishment: a) "...in mine anger, and in my fury,
and in great wrath" (Jer. 32:37); b) "...in anger, and in wrath, and in
great indignation, and cast them into another land" (Deut. 29:28); c) "I
will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you
seven times for your sins" (Lev. 26:28) after having already previously
promised three times to "punish you yet seven times" without threat of "in
- 369, par. 5 (162, par. 6): We suggest a different meaning than
given by B.H.B. The 'rod' of Ezek. 20:33, rather than denoting punishment,
is used to mark those devoted to God. The shepherd uses the rod in counting
the tenth--one in ten to be devoted to the Lord. Please read the source of
the illustration--Lev. 27:32--and the application of it expressed in Jer.
33:13: "...shall the flocks pass again under the hands [holding the rod] of
him that telleth them." Surely that refers to the one shepherd, God's
servant David, our risen Savior, Christ Jesus our Lord, in his supervision
of believers from Pentecost and forward. See Ezek. 34:22-26.
Several pointers in the New Testament direct us to draw spiritual
lessons from portions of Ezekiel 20.
- Acceptance is affirmed, vs. 40,41, with your sweet savour, as
are believers in Jesus: 2 Cor. 2:15, Eph. 5:2.
- Verses 9,14,22,44, 36:21,22, Isa. 48:11, 1 Sam. 12:22, Jer. 14:7
stipulate that the LORD has "wrought with you for my name's sake," that He
might not fail to bring forth His foreknown Israel. The New Testament
affirms that the dear Israel of God, the true Israel, exists; no longer
need the Lord work in the same sense for His own "name's sake."
- Jesus' quotation from Ezek. 20:47 recorded in Luke 23:31 regarding
what would happen to Israel when God's special blessing left them, suggests
that the focus of the chapter was to Israel's harvest, and not to millennia
- The conclusion of that Old Testament five-verse parable affirms that
that fire, which "all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled
it...shall not be quenched." All previous destructive episodes in the
experience of His people Israel were quenched as the Lord "wrought with
[them] for [His] name's sake." But through the ministries in their harvest
of "green" trees, the Lord gained His true Israel. Would this, too, not
have led Jesus to say to that people, "Behold, your house is left
[abandoned] unto you [desolate]"?--Matt. 23:38
- 369, par. 6 (163, top block): This line of thought (that what
appears to contain the strongest evidence of the new covenant from
Pentecost onward, really contains the strongest evidence to disprove it)
makes it difficult for brethren today to acknowledge and accept the
blessings of that precious covenant established through the blood of
Christ. The book of Hebrews contains the direct statement that the new
covenant "has been enacted"; B.H.B. says 'it has not been enacted.'
- 369, par. 6 (163, top block, end): Let the reader himself conclude
whether the things presented in that writing of B.H.B. are "further light"
or something else.
- 369, par. 7 (163, par. 1): Let not a technical illustration and
discussion obscure the apostolic logic! The priesthood and the covenants
interlock. The Levitical priesthood functioned in the law covenant; the
Melchisedec priest functions in the new covenant. The Abrahamic covenant
had no priest. Scripture itself applies the prophecy, "Thou art a priest
forever after the order of Melchisedec," to Jesus at His resurrection. God
does not install a priest to do nothing for 2000 years. Jesus Christ is an
unchanging priest; He never dies; He continues ever. "He ever liveth to
make intercession for" those "that come unto God by him." The Hebrews
writer wished his readers to know that favor from God through a "better
covenant" offering eternal blessings is 'pledged, secured, guaranteed,
under good security,' the meaning of the Greek egguos, translated 'surety.'
The writer would soon affirm that "now He has obtained a more excellent
ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which
has been enacted on better promises" (Heb. 8:6 NAS; see also Heb.
10:14-18). Heb. 7:22 affirms, not that "a better covenant" will sometime be
made, but as "The Lord sware and will not repent [concerning Jesus], Thou
art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much indeed [in
proportion to Him being a priest for ever] Jesus has become surety of a
better covenant" (Marshall Interlinear, see also NAS). He guarantees its
blessings to every one making application therefor from then on, because he
is a priest for ever. The teaching of the apostle is much different than
that of B.H.B. in 369, par. 7, and 370, par. 1,2 (163, par. 1,2,3).
- 370, par. 2 (163, par. 3): Jesus ascended into the heavens with his
own blood (Heb. 9:24-27) to make atonement for all who would believe.
Atonement through the new (better) covenant is insured to all who will
apply for it; and that is why believers have forgiveness of sins and all
other reconciliation blessings.
- 370, par. 3 (164, par. 1): The text, Heb. 8:6, in better rendering,
reads, "...the mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted on
better promises" (NAS; some translations read "has been instituted"). How
could this truth of the concurrency of the new covenant be made clearer?
- 370, par. 5 (164, par. 3 middle): We suggest that the teachings
therein are not valid. It is not intended that a literal view be taken of
the words, "The man that doeth them shall live in them" (Gal. 3:12, Rom.
10:5, Neh. 9:29), and it does not read nor mean "...shall live by them."
"...which if a man do, he shall live in them" (Lev. 18:5) means such a man
shall have the full favor and blessing of the Lord as long as he live.
Exod. 23:25,26 expresses this point more clearly: sufficient bread, water,
no barrenness, sicknesses taken away, and "the number of thy days I will
fulfil." (We perceived the real meaning of that promise at General
Convention about 1978 from a discourse by Irving Foss.)
- 371, top block end (164, par. 3 end): A further close reading of
the promise of the new covenant in Jer. 31:31-34 gives no intimation at all
of what status those blessed through it would eventually attain. It is sure
from Heb. 8:6-13, 9:15, 10:15-20, that the author of Hebrews believed that
the new covenant would bring those in it to full salvation, deliverance,
and glory. Furthermore, the law covenant was a ministration of death, and a
ministration of condemnation (2 Cor. 3:7,9), never intended to bring life,
but to function as a child leader to bring the people to Christ for life.
- 371, par. 1 (164, top): There is no explicit nor even an obscure
Biblical instruction that the new covenant should go into effect only after
the church is glorified. Please see our comments on 370, par. 3 (164, par.
- 371, par. 1 (165, top): Let not a very technical illustration and
hypothetical discussion obscure the very clear apostolic teaching!
- 371, par. 1 (165, top): It is inappropriate to liken the
institution of the new covenant, a great manifestation of divine grace, to
the enactment of a law. The writing of God's law in hearts is a spiritual
process with spiritual blessing, and according to 2 Cor. 3:2-6, the Apostle
Paul rejoiced in his privilege as a co-worker in that process. And the
writing of that law in the coming age will also be a spiritual process,
spiritual in the sense in which that word is used in 1 Cor. 10:3,4.
- 371, par. 2 (165, par. 1): B.H.B. again binds additional concepts
into a passage without Scriptural authorization. On this occasion he claims
the time of Israel's "cast-off condition" to be identical to when they were
'disregarded.' We suggest the time of the two circumstances are not the
same. (Please see comments on 368, par. 1 (161, par. 1.) The view of B.H.B.
was that Israel has been cast off during the call of the Gentiles; that
they were 'cast off' temporarily. However, in the words of Jesus, they were
- 371, par. 2 (165, par. 1): Compare the following sentiments from
Old and New Testaments: the prophet wrote, "they shall teach no more every
man his neighbour, and every man his brother"; the apostle wrote, "The
anointing which ye received from Him remains in you, and ye have no need
that anyone should teach you, but as the anointing of Him teaches you
concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and as it taught you,
remain ye in Him." The prophet wrote, "they shall all know me"; the apostle
wrote, "ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye all know." We
suggest from the above that the apostle drew his concepts from the
Inasmuch as all mankind are not yet being instructed by the Lord, as His
word promises they shall be "in due time" (John 5:28,29, 12:32, Acts 17:31,
1 Tim. 2:4-6, 1 Cor. 15:27,28, Rev. 22:17), some have reasoned that the new
covenant is not yet in effect. But 'all' and 'every man' in Jer. 31:34 need
not be understood as meaning every living person, nor all who ever lived.
Jeremiah mentioned "from the least of them even unto the greatest of them"
(Jer. 31:34) in two other places. In each instance he referred not to all
in Israel, but rather to a limited company within that nation. Jer. 6:13
and 8:10 speak only of those "given to covetousness," amongst whom there
were "the least," "the greatest," and those having in-between degrees of
that evil disposition. Furthermore, both passages mention specifically
those assigned to or usurping spiritual activities: "from the prophet even
unto the priest." This comparison clarifies the understanding we should
hold of 'all' and 'every man.' The meaning of the word 'all' is directed by
the context in which it is used. It is only the members of the 'house' who
accept the new covenant that can receive His law in their inward parts, and
in their hearts, be the people of God, and have their sins put out of
- 372, par. 1 (165, par. 2): We suggest that the assumption is
invalid that the time of the new covenant would be delayed 1900 years.
- 372, par. 2 (166, par. 1): Perhaps the point B.H.B. thought
'beautiful' is, when looked into, found to be not a point at all. He picked
out a definition from Liddell & Scott's Unabridged Greek Lexicon of a word
different than he thought he was examining. The definition given, 373, par.
3 (167, par. 1) is not the definition given by that Lexicon for the correct
word--the Greek verb sunteleo, used in Heb. 8:8. His mistake was failure to
understand how the Lexicon is arranged. The meaning of sunteleo, Heb. 8:8,
is revealed by its rendering in interlinearies of that verse: "I will
effect," "I will ratify," "I will finish," "I will complete." (The
definition B.H.B. took from the lexicon--"a joint contribution..."--is an
unusual usage of a different word, the Greek noun sunteleia. It was an
unfortunate happening, in which he built an entirely misdirecting
- 372, par. 2 (166, par. 1): The thought in Heb. 8:8 surely is not of
bringing the new covenant to an end! The thought is, rather, of all being
done to effect its opening or beginning: the sending, obedience, death,
resurrection, glorification of Him by whom the new covenant is mediated and
through whom it is administered--our Lord Jesus Christ.
- 373, par. 1 (166, par. 2): Paul did not translate the Hebrew word
karath when quoting Jer. 31:33 in Heb. 8:10 and Heb. 10:16. Rather, he
quoted directly from the Septuagint. The lengthy discussion of karath is
extraneous to the topic, and inapplicable.
- 373, par. 3 (167, par. 1): This paragraph is based upon a
definition of sunteleia, rather than of sunteleo. Inadvertently, the author
took a definition of an inapplicable word. The entire thesis and conclusion
- 374, par. 2 (167, par. 4): All of the sacrifices enumerated in Heb.
9:12,13,19 are typical of the offering once for all of Christ Jesus our
- 374, par. 4 (168, par. 2): This Scripture clearly says, "He is the
mediator of the new covenant"; it does not say "He is to become..." The
Bible does not teach an office without authority to function in it; but
rather of an office and its blessed work.
- 374, par. 5 (168, par. 3): The Scriptures in B.H.B.'s article
quoted just above that paragraph (Heb. 9:14,15) present exactly what the
Apostle meant to teach. The "little further research" obscures the Bible
truth. We think that and the two following paragraphs comprise human
reasoning which subverts sanctified reasoning. The explanation in those
three paragraphs is that though the Mediator of the new covenant brought
them deliverance from the curse of the law covenant, the Mediator arranged
"in a wondrous [but undefined] way" for them to share in the distribution
of the blessings of the new covenant, rather than in the receiving of the
blessings which were to be granted to those in it. This discussion seems
forced, and the result of previously-accepted misinformation. We consider
it unscriptural and without logic.
- 376, par. 1 (169, par. 1): There is no inspired record presenting
the three-stage concept. It is a contrived argument. When the one offering
"once for all" was completed, the new covenant became God's instrument of
blessing, and Heb. 8:6 says "...He is also the mediator of a better
covenant, which has been enacted on better promises."--NAS
- 376, par. 2 (169, par. 2): The concept of the three stages ignores
the fact that there were three acceptances of God's covenant before Moses
went up into the mount for forty days the first time (Exod. 24:18). The
people said, in the first acceptance, "All that the LORD hath spoken we
will do" (Exod. 19:8); the second time, the people said the same (Exod.
24:3); the third time, after Moses read to them the newly-written book of
the covenant and was about to sprinkle them with the blood of the covenant,
they said the same (Exod. 24:7,8).
- 376, par. 2 (169, par. 2): The record of Exod. 34:27-35 is that the
skin of Moses' face shone when in the mountain for 40 days the second time,
not during what the author refers to as the 'preparatory stage.' We suggest
that fact indicates there is no validity to his thesis. Furthermore, the
thought that the vail over Moses face was a reminder that the
greater-than-Moses would be invisible to the world is not suggested in this
passage. 2 Cor. 3:7-13 indicates the significance of the vail: "that the
sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading
away"--NAS ("of the thing being done away"-- Marshall).
- 376, par. 3 (170, par. 1): The presentations of this paragraph
conflict with the plain statements of Heb. 8:6, 7:22, 9:15, and 10:17,18;
and the three-stage concept lacks Scriptural support.
- 376, par. 4 (170, par. 2): Rather than as here written, we suggest
that Israel was in their law covenant at least as soon as they heard the
reading of the book of the law and received the sprinkled blood of the
- 377, par. 1 (170, par. 3): Ministers administer something. Paul was
administering the new covenant to the Corinthians. All faithful disciples
assist other disciples in receiving the writing of God's law in their
- 377, par. 3 (171, par. 2): It is commonly recognized that New
Testament acknowledgments of Old Testament types sets the appropriate
boundaries to what should be recognized as typical. A type must have an
antitype! Keturah remains unmentioned in the New Testament. Some who claim
Keturah and her sons to be typical use that line of thought to justify
their rejection of apostolic teaching that the new covenant "has been
enacted." That is imputing inordinate authority to a type, even were it a
happening which the New Testament identifies as a type. The examples cited
of Isaiah 61 and Psa. 68:18 do not contain types, nor do they have
It was the wise choice of Jesus not to declare "the day of vengeance of
our God" in that Nazareth synagogue when endeavoring to comfort, enlighten,
and influence hearers. He had other things to say to them that day (Luke
4:21-27) before they became "filled with wrath" than to declare God's anger
against them. But that He soon did. "For these be the days of vengeance,
that all things which are written may be fulfilled" (Luke 21:21,24,
23:28-31). Paul, too, took quotation from the Old Testament (Psa. 68:18) as
far as was appropriate when writing to a Gentile church who had themselves
already departed from rebelliousness, and had become submissive to the will
of God. There was no need to discuss that feature and engage in a divergent
thought when he was pursuing the spiritual lesson of God's care and gifts,
the subject already in hand (Eph. 4:7), in support of which he had turned
to the Psalm. There may be nothing in the appropriate teachings of Jesus or
Paul, whether or not they be judged incomplete, to suggest he pursued a
pattern in not mentioning Keturah. We believe the apostle realized he had
taken the allegory to its conclusion. The three-word phrase, "the two
covenants" (in Gal. 4:24), "for these [women] are [represent] the two
covenants," was written of the law covenant and the new covenant. The
Abrahamic covenant was already made, in force, and its years counting (Gal.
3:17) before Abraham had any children by the bondwoman or the freewoman.
Thus the Abrahamic Covenant could not have been likened, represented by, or
in the same rank to either of the two women.
The reality of a valid new covenant from Pentecost forward is abundantly
attested in Scripture. Let not typemaking nor extraneous arguments obscure
divine truths. It is acknowledged, however, and with great admiration of
God's loving purposes, that many more than the comparatively few who thus
far have come to believe into Jesus, will be blessed with eternal
inheritance in due time.
- 379, top block, lower (172, lower): Many Christians who rejoice in
the enacted new covenant do not deny the blessing of the world in its time
of visitation; and many Christians who embrace the enacted new covenant
understand that it will continue to extend its forgiveness of sins and
writing of God's law in hearts to the deliverance of the groaning creation.
- 379, par. 2 (173, par. 2): The first half of Isa. 49:8 contains an
important principle, precious to all who have been invited by the Lord to
serve Him. The apostle quoted for our encouragement only the portion of
that verse that contains that principle. Paul did not quote the entire
verse because he knew only Jesus was prophesied of in the complete verse.
Read Isaiah 49:1-8; it is all prophetic of Jesus. The same is true of Isa.
42:1-7, which please read. Verse 6 contains the same promise, "...and give
thee for a covenant of the people." It is not unusual for an important
promise to be repeated by the same prophet. It is Jesus that is given for a
covenant, not the church. That is why Paul taught so clearly, "There is one
God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave
himself a ransom for all."--1 Tim. 2:5,6
- 380, par. 2 (174, top): When Moses was earlier instructed to build
an altar, he was told to "...sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy
peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen" (Exod. 20:24). From Exod.
24:5-8 it is known that the "peace offerings were of oxen (calves)." That
means the burnt offerings were sheep. 'Sheep' in the former text is from
the Hebrew tseown, Strong's #6629, meaning "to migrate--used of sheep or
goats," so 'goats' is suitably used in Heb. 9:19.
- 380, par. 2 and 381, par. 1 (174, top and par. 1,2): These
paragraphs contain added, dramatized details not found in Exodus 24 or in
the New Testament, and were written to enforce certain preconceived
concepts. Moses took the animal blood, put half of it in basons, sprinkled
half on the altar, and read the book of the covenant to the people. After
their agreement to be obedient, he sprinkled the blood on the people. This
represented the blood of Christ Jesus, and the apostle referred to His
blood in relation to the new covenant as "the blood of sprinkling" (Heb.
12:24). Believers receive that sprinkled blood to their own benefit, in
connection with their salvation, and it denotes their being received into
the new covenant under our Lord Jesus Christ. It is only through that blood
that we come into the covenant, even as "all the people" (Exod. 24:3) then
came into the typical covenant.
- 381, par. 2 (175, par. 1): The apostle Peter evidently took close
note of the Exod. 24:7,8 record which relates the people's pledge of
obedience with the blood of sprinkling. He connects these elements in 1
Pet. 1:2 in the same sequence, and exhorts us to be obedient and
submissive: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the
blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." This is
Peter's acknowledgment of his place, and his exhortation regarding our
place, in the new covenant, under its glorified Mediator.
- 382, par. 1 (176, par. 1): No Bible language stipulates that the
new covenant effects a gradual uplifting process, even though the concept
itself holds true to all who turn from sin toward righteousness.
- 382, par. 2 (176, par. 2): When Jesus said, "This cup is the new
covenant in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20), he said the new
covenant is for us. The message in the institution of the memorial of His
death and as presented in 1 Cor. 11:25 is to show forth his death, not our
sacrifice. But many other passages teach the Christian privilege of
suffering with Christ in our daily baptism.
- 383, par. 2 (176, par. 2 middle): "When he had supped" means "after
supper." It does not mean, "When he had sipped [of the cup]," as some have
thought, and as B.H.B. seems to imply. Clearly, Jesus did not drink of the
cup of "the new covenant in my [His] blood."
- 383, par. 3 (177, par. 3): We suggest that such strong statements
as seen in that paragraph are a gross over-simplification of what the
prophetic statements should really be understood to teach.
- 384 top (177, par. 3 middle): We suggest that both prophecies, that
of the two sticks and the valley of dry bones, met their fulfillment after
the Babylonian captivity. Citizens of the two houses have been
unidentifiable for almost two millennia. We suggest that Ezek. 37:23- 28
finds its more fitting application to Jesus as king over true Israel.
- 384, top (178, top): Note the promise, "...I make a full end of all
nations whither I have scattered thee [past tense]..." The fulfillment of
this prophecy is attested by the fact that the nations of Assyria and of
Babylon no longer exist.
- 384, par. 1 (178, par. 1): This review is not an appropriate
occasion to print a consideration of all prophetic statements regarding
- 388, par. 4 end (193, par. 4 end): 1 Cor. 15:29,30 is discussed in
the folder, "Are You Baptized For the Dead?",
available free from FF.
- 389, par. 1 (194, par. 1): Jesus did not drink of the cup of "the
new covenant in my [His] blood."
- 389, par. 2 (194, par. 2): "Afflict your souls" meant they were to
fast, and do no work, and earn no money, in anticipation of their annual
cleansing from sin. See Isa. 58:3,5; Lev. 23:32, and Lev. 16:29-31. Animal
sacrifices were made and blood was sprinkled, which made atonement, once
each year, on the typical Atonement Day. Such were called "sin offerings."
(Other sin offerings were made on many other days and disposed of in
different ways.) All the sin-offerings were concluded in the antitype once
for all when Jesus completed his sacrifice and the presentation of its
value in heaven. He offered once. The results of that offering began to be
manifested on Pentecost, continues since then, and shall continue to the
blessing of all the families of the earth. It is inappropriate to link Rom.
8:22 with Lev. 16's day of atonement, the antitype of which was from Jesus'
baptism through Pentecost.
Many other points in that long paragraph deserve comment. The only blood
used to purge or purify the patterns (copies) of things in the heavens was
blood from animals classified as sin offerings. Heb. 9:12- 14 shows that
all such represented only the blood of Christ. Thus, "better sacrifices"
(plural) refers only to the one sacrifice of the human body of Jesus Christ
our Lord. It is put in the plural, not that there has been a repetition of
it, for it is but one sacrifice, and but once offered up, and will never be
offered again; but to show the excellency of it, it being usual with the
Jews to use the plural number of things the most excellent. By its
matchless excellence, it is equivalent to the Levitical many sacrifices. A
similar instance exists where the plural stands for a manifestly single
occurrence in a related matter. Had the writer of Hebrews understood, and
we assume he did, that Isaiah 53:8 reads, "...he made his grave with the
wicked, and with the rich in his deaths [plural]," he could be expected to
use, as he did, plural 'sacrifices' with reference to the same important
event, the once-for-all, all-prevailing sin offering sacrifice of the
specially-provided body of Jesus Christ our Lord.
There has been much discussion as to what Heb. 10:9, "He taketh away the
first, that he may establish the second," may mean. Perhaps neither of the
two views sometimes heard is correct: a) He taketh away the first (old
covenant), that he may establish the second (new covenant); b) He taketh
away the first (the typical) sacrifices, that he may establish the second
(the antitypical sacrifices). Consideration of verses 8 and 9 shows what
God then had no will or pleasure in--the typical things offered by servants
of the law. But now Jesus had come to do God's will--to do that which God
would have pleasure in. By providing the essential antitypical sacrifice
and offering, He showed that the typical were of no value to the removal of
sin. What Jesus did was according to God's will (verse 10); it was "By the
which [by that] will [the will of God] [that] we are sanctified through the
offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." The finished work of
Christ has sanctified us, that is, translated us from unholy alienation
into a state of consecration to God. As said in verse 2, we now have "no
more conscience [feeling of condemnation] of sins." By the very offering of
His flesh (which permanently satisfied God's will in regard to sacrifice
and offering for sin), Jesus declared the incompetence of the law
sacrifices to satisfy the will of God.
B.H.B. draws attention to the word 'establish.' Its Greek base,
histeemi, is said in Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich Lexicon to mean, in its use in
Heb. 10:9, "establish, confirm, make or consider valid [a certain]
something"; Thayer: "to establish a thing, cause it to stand, i.e. to
uphold or sustain the authority or force of any thing"; in Vine: "to cause
to stand." The sanctifying influence in each believer's life is additional
evidence that Jesus did establish, make permanent, the effectiveness of
deliverance through His antitypical sacrifice and offering.
The KJ version of Heb. 10:12 is indeed faulty, but we do not understand
B.H.B.'s point that it is 'incomplete.' The Diaglott text (same in that
verse as Textus Receptus) uses the Greek autos (for 'he') in verse 12
(Siniaticus, Alexandrinus, and some other manuscripts use outos (meaning
Where the Diaglott twice uses the word 'continuance' (Heb. 10:12,14),
some authorities use 'perpetuity.' There is no significant difference in
the meaning of the words, except that into 'continuance' one could read a
different thought if one's mind was looking to the body of believers (the
church) for a 'continuance' of the sin offering sacrifices. And, as a
matter of fact, there is that very point expressed by B.H.B.: "He has been
waiting for nearly two thousand years and waits still, whilst those who are
perfected and sanctified continue the 'better sacrifices.'.." That thought
of B.H.B. is certainly unfounded. It is not good to contend that such
sacrifice was but begun by Jesus, when it was both begun and completed by
our loving Savior.
'For ever' is not a satisfactory translation of the Greek eis to
dieenekes seen in Heb. 10:12 and 14. The Diaglott interline shows a comma
in verse 12 (omitted in B.H.B.'s quotation of it): "But he having offered a
sacrifice on behalf of sins, for the continuance sat down at right of the
God, thenceforth waiting till may be placed the enemies of him a footstool
for the feet of him." The thought reads more easily from Marshall
Interlinear: "On the other [hand], this [priest] having offered one
sacrifice on behalf of sins, sat in perpetuity at [the] right [hand] of
God, henceforth expecting till the enemies of him are put a footstool of
the feet of him." The point the apostle makes is that the typical priest
was "standing daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same
sacrifices" (Heb. 10:11). He had to continue standing to function in that
ministry, because needing to repeat those sacrifices which could never take
away sins. But Jesus sat down in perpetuity, justifiably expecting His
once-for- all offering for sin to be the sole basis for the eventual
reconciliation of his enemies, no further offering for sin being necessary.
Punctuation in the sentence is important, the meaning being made apparent
when the comma is in the proper place, as done in Diaglott, Marshall
Interlinear, New American Bible, Moffatt, Jerusalem Bible. However, B.H.B.
teaches that a necessity for further offering for sin remained. But
Scripture does not agree with that. Scripture says that Jesus, having
completed His sacrifice and His offering, and having established its
validity, 'in perpetuity sat down,' and waits henceforth. But B.H.B. says
our glorified Lord Jesus has been "waiting nearly 2000 years, and still
waits," for others to continue and complete "this work of sacrificing."
Brethren, the apostle did not teach such regarding the sin offering.
The apostle established the validity of Jesus' once-for-all service. Our
Master's sacrifice and offering was not the commencement of an on- going
sin-offering, but the conclusion. B.H.B.'s thought is different than that.
To suggest that others also were to supplement the offering has just the
opposite meaning from that expressed by the apostle.
Thirty-one authorities in one private library agree to the punctuation
of a comma after sins. "Sat in perpetuity" (said of Jesus- -Heb. 10:12,13)
contrasts with 'stands daily' (said of the typical priest--Heb. 10:11) This
harmonizes with Heb. 1:3: "...when He had by Himself purged sins, sat down
on the right hand of the Majesty on high."
- 390 top (195 top) There B.H.B. binds together as though they
referred to the same period of time, three concepts: 'those days,' 'the
days of waiting,' and a claimed period during which "'continued' sacrifices
[by which he means sin-offering sacrifices] are completed." Such teaching
is in direct conflict with various perceptions taught in Jeremiah and
Hebrews, and they increase the interpretive burden which the sincere but
unsuspecting must struggle with. Please see comments on 368, par. 2 (162,
- 390 top (195 top): There, by putting the application of Hebrews 10,
verses 16,17 in the future, B.H.B. gives a reverse spin or twist to the
beautiful contextual teaching of the apostle in Heb. 10:10-18. Such is just
the opposite of what the passage as written teaches, more easily seen when
verses 16 and 17 are shortened: "Whereof the holy spirit also is a witness
to us [because we have received his law and he remembers not our
sins]...Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for
sins." Not to be overlooked is the lead-in verse 14 and its meaning: "by
one offering [for sin] he hath perfected in perpetuity them being
sanctified [through the covenant that writes God's law in hearts and
through which he remembers not our sins]."
'Now' (the first word of Heb. 10:18) is from Greek de, Strong's #1161,
defined therein as "adversative or continuative." Because having sins
remitted was open to and the special privilege of those to whom he wrote,
the apostle enumerates (vss. 19-25) other spiritual blessings intended for
those in the new covenant. Had the writer of Hebrews intended, as B.H.B.
contends, a postponement of the institution of the new covenant, it is
unlikely he would have used the word 'now.'
- 390, par. 2,3 (195, par. 2,3): The use of 'fellowship' there by
B.H.B. did not denote our receiving of the blessings of the atonement. He
there used "fellowship" to teach 'participation' as being our part of that
which provides 'atonement.' Because he held and communicated such thoughts,
he found it necessary to stipulate that we do not have a 'fellowship' in
the ransom. But it is seen from Scripture that there could be no such
fellowship or contribution to the sin offering by the followers of Jesus,
because His offering was "once for all."
- 391, par. 2 end (196, par. 3 end): Rather than as stated there,
might it better say: Surely, being justified, we are blessed in being
acceptable as we present our bodies a living sacrifice to God in His
- 391, par. 4 (196, par. 5): The passage discussed in that paragraph
is exhaustively considered with a different conclusion in a 6-page folder
entitled "Hebrews 13:10-16," available free from FF.
- 391, par. 4 (196, par. 5): The four classifications of offerings
listed three times in Scripture (Psa. 40:6; Heb. 10:5,6; Heb. 10:8) all
found their antitype in the one sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord--"a body
hast thou prepared me." All offerings described in Lev. 16 found their
antitypical fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. It is
not harmonious with Scripture to teach that the antitypical Atonement Day
is that period of time called the Gospel Age. Rather, the antitypical
Atonement Day is the period of our Lord's 3-1/2 year sacrifice and His
appearance in the presence of God, in heaven itself, on behalf of all who
will believe into Him.
- 392 top (197 top, end): We suggest that the "offering up"
(presentation) of Gentiles (Rom. 15:16) in the service of God and to be
sanctified by the holy spirit is not part of the sin-offering typified by
such offerings of the typical Atonement Day.
- 392, top (197 top, end); We acknowledge that in actual happening
there was a co-mingling of the blood of the goat with that of the bullock.
This would have occurred annually in the type when both bloods were
sprinkled upon the propitiatory (Lev. 16:15) and when both bloods were put
upon the horns of the incense altar (Lev. 16:18,19), as instructed in Exod.
30:10. The oneness of the blood, that the blood of both bullock and goat
represent the one sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord in its several
atonements, is expressed in the latter verse: "And Aaron shall make an
atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin
offering of atonements." The Lord looked at sin offering blood as one
blood. It was, however, necessary (for the successful work of atonement) to
assure that the typical priest was first qualified--by cleansing and
atonement--to officiate on behalf of the nation. The blood of the bullock
provided that atonement. The blood of the goat provided atonement for the
nation as a whole, which itself was "a kingdom of priests," typical of the
It is observed that when, as Lev. 16:21 records, Aaron confessed over
the head of the live goat "all the iniquities of the children of Israel,
and all their transgressions in all their sins," the iniquities and
transgressions of Moses, Aaron, and his sons were of necessity included
with those of all the people, for there was no other provision for the
sending away of those sins.
Suggestions for change or correction in foregoing statements in this review
will be appreciated and given close consideration. It is hoped that these
thoughts may assist Bible Students to present a Scripturally accurate view
of these subjects.