Benefits from God’s New Covenant Spreading Worldwide
1. As regards ability to serve as mediators, how do Moses and Jesus Christ contrast with each other?
THE entire spiritual “Israel of God” accepts the statement of the apostle Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:5, 6: “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.” The prophet Moses has been dead now for more than three thousand four hundred years and can no longer serve as a mediator between God and Jewish men. But what about the Son of man, Christ Jesus? After his death as a “corresponding ransom,” he was resurrected from the dead and was rewarded with immortal life in heaven with Jehovah God. So he has continued to serve as the “one mediator between God and men.”
2. According to Hebrews 8:6-12, Jesus Christ is the mediator of what covenant, and with whom?
2 He is the Mediator of the new covenant between God and the spiritual “Israel of God.” In proof of that, the inspired letter to Christianized Hebrews (8:6-12) says: “Now Jesus has obtained a more excellent public service, so that he is also the mediator of a correspondingly better covenant, which has been legally established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, no place would have been sought for a second; for he does find fault with the people when he says: ‘“Look! There are days coming,” says Jehovah, “and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; not according to the covenant that I made with their forefathers in the day of my taking hold of their hand to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant, so that I stopped caring for them,” says Jehovah.’ ‘“For this is the covenant that I shall covenant with the house of Israel after those days,” says Jehovah.’” The writer of Hebrews then goes on to quote God’s explanation of the new covenant as stated in Jeremiah 31:31-34.
3. How does the new covenant compare with the old one, and why?
3 That the new covenant is better than the old covenant of the Law with Israel according to the flesh, the writer proceeds to show, saying: “How much more will the blood of the Christ, who through an everlasting spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works that we may render sacred service to the living God? So that is why he is a mediator of a new covenant.”—Heb. 9:14, 15.
4 Later in his letter, the writer tells these Christians that, ‘though they are Hebrews, they have not approached Mount Sinai in Arabia where Moses served as mediator. No, but as spiritual Israelites “you have approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, in general assembly, and the congregation of the first-born who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all, and the spiritual lives of righteous ones who have been made perfect, and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and the blood of sprinkling.” “Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an everlasting covenant, our Lord Jesus, equip you with every good thing to do his will.”—Heb. 12:18-24; 13:20, 21.
5. According to what the book of Revelation shows, what proportion of mankind are taken into God’s new covenant through Christ?
5 In Revelation 7:4-8 the apostle John names the “twelve tribes” of spiritual Israel and puts the number of all these spiritual Israelites as 144,000, or 12,000 in each of the “twelve tribes.” Revelation 14:1-5 pictures the entire spiritual “Israel of God” as standing on the heavenly Mount Zion with the “Lamb” of God, their Mediator Jesus Christ. These 144,000 are spoken of, not as being redeemed or rescued from ancient Egypt, but as being “bought from among mankind as a first fruits to God and to the Lamb.” Today the natural, circumcised Jews number 12,867,000, and the non-Jewish remainder of mankind number more than three thousand millions. From this fact we can see that comparatively few of mankind are taken by God into his new covenant as mediated by Jesus Christ.
6. How many persons must there be today that are in the new covenant, and how do they identify themselves each year?
6 Today there must be very few persons who are in that new covenant as spiritual Israelites. These are known and identified by their celebrating the Lord’s Supper each year on its anniversary date, namely, on the night of Nisan 14 (Biblical calendar), at which time they partake of the emblematic bread and wine. Records collected world wide the year of 1965 show that about 11,500 partook of the emblems and thus confessed that they are in the new covenant with Jehovah God as spiritual Israelites.
7. (a) Hence how many persons benefit directly from the new covenant? (b) Nevertheless, how many on earth are benefiting today from the new covenant, and how many will yet do so?
7 Since so few persons come to be in the new covenant foretold in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and since they are all to be transferred to the heavenly Mount Zion, very few humans indeed benefit directly from the new covenant. Despite this fact, all the world of mankind stands to benefit from this new covenant. Yes, today, the blessings of this new covenant are not confined to the around 11,500 spiritual Israelites who partake of the emblems at the Lord’s Supper. No, but already benefits from it are spreading world wide. Especially benefiting therefrom are the more than a million worshipers of Jehovah God who are directly associating with this small remnant of the spiritual “Israel of God.” How this is, and how all mankind, living and dead, stands to benefit from the new covenant can be seen in God’s purpose behind his new covenant.
THE DIVINE PURPOSE
8, 9. (a) The purpose of the new covenant can be seen from what? (b) According to what God said at Mount Sinai, the purpose of the Law covenant was to produce what?
8 The new covenant takes the place of the old covenant of the Law with natural Israel. So the purpose of the new covenant can be seen in that of the old one. When, at Mount Sinai in Arabia, God proposed to bring the nation of Israel into a covenant with him through the mediator Moses, God said: “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, that I might carry you on wings of eagles and bring you to myself. And now if you will strictly obey my voice and will indeed keep my covenant, then you will certainly become my special property out of all other peoples, because the whole earth belongs to me. And you yourselves will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”—Ex. 19:4-6.
9 Note the expressions “my special property” and “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” By strict obedience to their part of this covenant with God, the nation of natural Israel was to become something. What? God’s permanent “special property out of all other peoples.” They would also become, not a holy nation with only some members of it serving as priests and others as kings, but a “holy nation” that, as a whole, was a “kingdom of priests.” That is to say, every member of this “holy nation” would be a kingly priest. The entire “holy nation” would serve God as a royal priesthood.
10, 11. (a) Did the Law covenant accomplish that purpose, and what indication regarding this did Jeremiah give? (b) Will the new covenant miss its purpose, and what favorable factors are there about it?
10 Such a thing as this God had in mind, but would he gain it from just the nation of natural, circumcised Israel? If natural Israel were to take advantage of this opportunity and become a “kingdom of priests,” O what benefits they could bestow on all the rest of humankind from whom God took them out to be a “special property” to him, his “holy nation”!
11 More than eight centuries after Moses, Jehovah God inspired his prophet Jeremiah to foretell a new covenant, thus showing that the nation of Israel was failing to meet God’s purpose, As a nation they would not become his “special property,” his “holy nation,” his “kingdom of priests.” Over six hundred years later the Mediator of the promised new covenant arrived, Jesus Christ, the Son of God from heaven. He being sinless, perfect as a man, he was able to present the needed sacrifice to provide the blood for putting the new covenant into force between God and spiritual Israel. What was its purpose? Nothing less than that of the old covenant of the Mosaic law. The old covenant missed its purpose, the producing of a “kingdom of priests.” Would the new covenant also? No! For the “blood of the covenant” is better than the animal blood that Moses sprinkled on the Law book and the Israelites. There is also a better mediator, one who does not die as Moses did. Hence we read:
12, 13. The continuing alive forever imparts what ability to God’s High Priest in behalf of those taken into the new covenant?
12 “He because of continuing alive forever has his priesthood without any successors. Consequently he is able also to save completely those who are approaching God through him, because he is always alive to plead for them. For such a high priest as this was suitable for us, loyal, guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners, and become higher than the heavens.”—Heb. 7:24-27.
13 Because of this very important quality, God’s High Priest Jesus Christ can completely save his 144,000 faithful followers, the “twelve tribes” of the spiritual “Israel of God,” to become God’s “holy nation,” his “special property out of all other peoples,” his “kingdom of priests.” The fact of the matter is that the apostle Peter applies those very terms to Christians whom he addresses as “the temporary residents scattered about,” “the ones chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, with sanctification by the spirit, for the purpose of their being obedient and sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ.”—1 Pet. 1:1, 2.
14. According to Peter, in contrast with the Jews who rejected Christ, what do the Christians in the new covenant become?
14 Commenting on the difference between them and the natural, circumcised Jews who rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, the Jewish Christian apostle Peter says: “To this very end they were also appointed. But you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies’ of the One that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. For you were once not a people, but are now God’s people; you were those who had not been shown mercy, but are now those who have been shown mercy.”—1 Pet. 2:8-10.
15. How does John show, in Revelation, that the spiritual Israelites in the new covenant do not miss its purpose?
15 The spiritual Israelites in the new covenant do not miss its purpose to become a “kingdom of priests.” In proof of this the apostle John confesses that this is due to the Mediator Jesus Christ, saying: “To him that loves us and that loosed us from our sins by means of his own blood—and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—yes, to him be the glory and the might forever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:5, 6) Also, in this revelation given to John he sees the symbolic twenty-four older persons giving due recognition to the Lamb Jesus Christ and saying: “You were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will rule as kings over the earth.”—Rev. 5:8-10.
16, 17. How does John, in Revelation chapter twenty, see that the new covenant does not fail to produce according to its purpose?
16 That the new covenant does not fail to produce this “kingdom of priests,” the apostle John sees later on in the revelation given to him. After seeing Satan the Devil bound and imprisoned in the abyss for the thousand years of Christ’s rule as king, John says:
17 “And I saw thrones, and there were those who sat down on them, and power of judging was given them. Yes, I saw the souls of those executed with the ax for the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had worshiped neither the wild beast nor its image and who had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years. . . . This is the first resurrection. Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.”—Rev. 20:4-6.
18. How does the nation of spiritual Israel compare with the priesthood of ancient Israel?
18 Thus the whole nation of spiritual Israel becomes a “kingdom of priests” along with God’s High Priest Jesus Christ. In ancient Israel only the family of Aaron was appointed to be a body of priests under Aaron as first high priest, They were not royal priests, not a “kingdom of priests” to rule over the rest of Israel.
19. Kingly powers were finally conferred upon whom in all Israel, and what covenant was made with regard to this privilege?
19 Centuries later, when Jehovah God gave the nation of Israel a human king, he raised up David of Bethlehem to be the second king of all Israel, without priestly powers. Because of David’s heart devotion to divine worship, Jehovah God of his own accord made a covenant with David for an everlasting kingdom within his family.
KINGDOM COVENANT WITH DAVID
20. That kingdom covenant was made within what other covenant, and how was the kingdom of the Permanent Heir brought out from under that other covenant?
20 This kingdom covenant was made with a man under the old law covenant and was therefore done within the Law covenant. (2 Sam. 7:8-17; Deut. 17:14-20) The man who proved to be the permanent heir of that kingdom covenant was a man born under the Law covenant, namely, Jesus the descendant of David. (Gal. 4:4) However, Jesus fulfilled the Law of the old covenant even to the point of dying as a human sacrifice to God, and in this way came out from under that Law covenant. So his kingdom is not under that Law covenant.—Rom. 7:1-6; Matt. 5:17-19; Eph. 2:13-15; Col. 2:13, 14.
21. (a) Who was Melchizedek, and did David become his successor? (b) However, in Psalm 110:1-6, what did Jehovah swear that has a connection with Melchizedek?
21 Of course, Jehovah God had an earlier king in the earth, namely, Melchizedek king of Salem. He was also “priest of the Most High God,” and as such he received religious tithes from the patriarch Abraham, whom he as priest blessed. (Gen. 14:18-20) Melchizedek ruled for a time in the land that was later given to the nation of Israel, but he was never under the Law covenant. King David of Israel was not a successor of King Melchizedek nor was he like Melchizedek. However, in Psalm 110:1-6, King David reports that Jehovah God swore that there would be a priest forever like Melchizedek and that this priest would sit on a royal throne, even at God’s right hand in heaven. King David acknowledged that this coming heavenly King-Priest would be his “Lord.”
22. (a) Was God’s sworn oath concerning Melchizedek a part of the old Law covenant, and was it sworn to the 144,000 spiritual Israelites in the new covenant? (b) When was it that God thus swore in fulfillment of Psalm 110:4?
22 Jehovah God swore concerning this “priest to time indefinite according to the manner of Melchizedek.” This sworn oath had nothing to do with the old Law covenant with the nation of Israel. It was not a part of that covenant nor was it made within it, even as King Melchizedek was never within the Law covenant of Israel. Jesus Christ is the one to whom Jehovah God swore that he should be a priest forever like King Melchizedek. (Heb. 5:5-10) But God does not swear this to the 144,000 spiritual Israelites who follow Jesus and who are in the new covenant. So God’s oath concerning the royal priesthood like that of Melchizedek is a personal covenant. God made it with Jesus Christ alone. When did God swear to him in that behalf? It was when God anointed Jesus with holy spirit after Jesus was baptized in water. God’s oath and anointing qualified Jesus to be a Priest, the Mediator of the new covenant.—Heb. 5:4-10.
23, 24. (a) What shall we say as to whether the new covenant is a personal covenant? (b) For what does Jesus Christ covenant with those in the new covenant, and what covenant does God first make with Jesus Christ?
23 But as regards the new covenant, it is not a personal covenant. It is a covenant that God makes through a mediator with a people, a whole nation, with the end in view of their being all a kingdom of priests. But with whom will this nation in the new covenant be a “kingdom of priests,” a “royal priesthood”? This was indicated by the Mediator of the new covenant on the night that he set up the Lord’s Supper and mentioned the new covenant. Afterward when his faithful apostles started a discussion as to “which one of them seemed to be greatest,” Jesus said: “You are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials; and I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.”—Luke 22:24-30, NW; Ro.
24 Notice that here Jesus Christ speaks of what he calls “my kingdom.” He is the one that makes the covenant with his disciples for a kingdom, namely, to be with him in his kingdom. But first Jehovah God makes His own covenant for the Kingdom with the one person, Jesus Christ. Afterward Jesus Christ brings his 144,000 disciples into his kingdom with him. To that end he mediates the new covenant between God and his 144,000 disciples, and it is this new covenant that includes priesthood, an office that Jesus did not mention when he talked about making a covenant with his disciples for a kingdom. As a priest like Melchizedek, Jesus reigns in heaven.*
“KINGDOM OF PRIESTS”
25. To whom is the new covenant limited, and yet who will get benefits from this, and particularly when?
25 The new covenant is limited to just the “holy nation” of 144,000 spiritual Israelites. Yet the benefits resulting from this covenant will be worldwide. How so? Because it produces a “kingdom of priests,” a “royal priesthood,” to serve under the royal High Priest Jesus Christ, the King-Priest like Melchizedek. By the new covenant God produces a “royal priesthood” under Jesus Christ for the benefit of all the world. The benefits from this “kingdom of priests” produced by the new covenant will become especially manifest during the thousand years when they “will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him.”—Rev. 20:4-6.
26. Whom did Paul and Timothy in their day benefit as “ministers of a new covenant,” and whom do the remnant thereof benefit today?
26 However, the benefits from the new covenant have already begun to spread world wide. Nineteen centuries ago the apostle Paul wrote to spiritual Israelites in the city of Corinth, Greece, and said: “Our being adequately qualified issues from God, who has indeed adequately qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant, not of a written code, but of spirit; for the written code [through Moses] condemns to death, but the spirit makes alive.” (2 Cor. 3:5, 6) Back there, Paul and his companion Timothy were acting as “ministers of a new covenant.” They benefited only the spiritual Israelites, who were brought into the new covenant through the ministry of Paul and Timothy. But today the remnant of the “ministers of a new covenant” are also benefiting mankind in general.
Jehovah God does not need to make a new Kingdom covenant personally with Jesus for him to come into David’s throne, for Jesus came into the ancient kingdom covenant that God made with David naturally, that is, by human birth. Thus he becomes Permanent Heir to David’s kingdom. But God’s oath concerning a priest forever like Melchizedek is something different. It is a covenant for a heavenly kingdom. It is a personal Kingdom covenant, made only with Jesus Christ. Thus those two covenants concerning kingdom did not apply to the nation of Israel or to Christ’s disciples, but only to Jesus Christ himself. On the other hand, the new covenant is made through a mediator, Jesus Christ, with his 144,000 disciples. This new covenant with the “holy nation” of spiritual Israelites is what brings forth the “kingdom of priests,” to serve under Jesus Christ, the King-Priest like Melchizedek. Hence Jesus appointed a kingdom to his disciples in Luke 22:28-30. Hence we must distinguish between the Kingdom covenants that apply to the one person, Jesus Christ, and the new covenant that applies to the nation of spiritual Israel. Jesus Christ became a King-Priest in heaven by Jehovah God’s oath, not by virtue of the new covenant.
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God Makes Covenant for Jesus to Be King-Priest like Melchizedek