Covenants Involving God’s Eternal Purpose
“Jehovah . . . has remembered his covenant even to time indefinite, the word that he commanded, to a thousand generations.”—PSALM 105:7, 8.
1, 2. Why can we say that most of us have been affected by a covenant?
MOST likely a covenant has affected you—your past, your present, and your future. ‘What covenant?’ you may wonder. In this case, it is marriage, for most of us are the offspring of a marriage and many of us are married ourselves. Even those not yet married may think about the blessings of a happy marriage in the future.
2 Centuries ago the Hebrew prophet Malachi wrote about “the wife of your youth,” “your partner and the wife of your covenant.” (Malachi 2:14-16) He could call marriage a covenant, for that is a contract or formal agreement, an arrangement between parties to do something jointly. The marriage compact is a bilateral covenant in which two parties agree to become husband and wife, accepting obligations toward each other and looking forward to lasting benefits.
3. Why may other covenants affect us more than marriage?
3 Marriage might seem to be the covenant with the greatest personal impact on us, and yet the Bible discusses covenants of much wider import. In contrasting Biblical covenants with those of non-Biblical religions, one encyclopedia says that only in the Bible “does this ordering of the relation between God and his people become a comprehensive system with ultimately universal implications.” Yes, these covenants involve the eternal purpose of our loving Creator. As you will see, your receiving untold blessings is tied in with these covenants. ‘But how is that so?’ you have reason to ask.
4. What initial covenant points to God’s eternal purpose?
4 You are well aware of the tragic results when Adam and Eve rejected God’s authority. We inherited imperfection from them, which fact is behind the sicknesses that we have suffered, and which leads to death. (Genesis 3:1-6, 14-19) We can be grateful, however, that their sin could not thwart God’s purpose to fill the earth with true worshipers enjoying lasting health and happiness. In this connection, Jehovah made the covenant recorded at Genesis 3:15: “And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” However, the brevity and symbolic language of this statement left many questions unanswered. How would Jehovah fulfill this covenant promise?
5, 6. (a) What means did God decide to use in working out his purpose? (b) Why should we be interested in God’s means of doing this?
5 God further chose to arrange for a particular series of divine covenants, which, with the Edenic covenant, make seven in all. Each of us hoping to enjoy eternal blessings should understand these covenants. This includes knowing when and how they were made, who were involved, what their objectives or terms were, and how the covenants relate to one another in God’s purpose to bless obedient mankind with everlasting life. This is an appropriate time to review these covenants, for on March 22, 1989, congregations of Christians will convene to commemorate the Lord’s Evening Meal, which directly involves these covenants.
6 Of course, to some people the idea of covenants might sound dry, legalistic, with little human interest. Consider, though, what the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament says: “The terms for ‘covenant’ in the ancient Near East as well as in the Greek and Roman world . . . are distributed according to two semantic fields: oath and commitment on the one hand, love and friendship on the other.” We can see both aspects—oath and friendship—as the keystone of Jehovah’s covenants.
Abrahamic Covenant—Basis for Eternal Blessings
7, 8. What sort of covenant did Jehovah make with Abraham? (1 Chronicles 16:15, 16)
7 The patriarch Abraham, “the father of all those having faith,” was “Jehovah’s friend.” (Romans 4:11; James 2:21-23) God swore to him with an oath, setting out a covenant that is basic to our receiving eternal blessings.—Hebrews 6:13-18.
8 While Abraham was in Ur, Jehovah told him to move to another land, which turned out to be Canaan. At that time Jehovah promised Abraham: “I shall make a great nation out of you and I shall bless you and I will make your name great; . . . and all the families of the ground will certainly bless themselves by means of you.”* (Genesis 12:1-3) Thereafter, God gradually added details to what we rightly speak of as the Abrahamic covenant: Abraham’s seed, or heir, would inherit the Promised Land; his seed would lead to unnumbered offspring; Abraham and Sarah would be the source of kings.—Genesis 13:14-17; 15:4-6; 17:1-8, 16; Psalm 105:8-10.
9. How do we know that we can be involved in the Abrahamic covenant?
9 God called it “my covenant between me and you [Abraham].” (Genesis 17:2) But we certainly should feel that our lives are involved, for God later amplified the covenant, stating: “I shall surely bless you and I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore; and your seed will take possession of the gate of his enemies. And by means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves.” (Genesis 22:17, 18) We are part of those nations; a potential blessing is in store for us.
10. What insights do we get from the covenant with Abraham?
10 Let us pause to consider what we can learn from the Abrahamic covenant. Like the Edenic covenant before it, this points to a coming “seed,” thus suggesting that the seed would have a human lineage. (Genesis 3:15) That would be of the line of Shem, down to Abraham, and through his son Isaac. This line would involve kingship, and it would somehow allow for a blessing for not just one family but humans of all lands. How was that covenant fulfilled?
11. How did a literal fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant come about?
11 Abraham’s descendants through Jacob, or Israel, multiplied to become a great nation. As an unnumbered literal seed of Abraham, they were dedicated to the pure worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Genesis 28:13; Exodus 3:6, 15; 6:3; Acts 3:13) Often the Israelites turned from pure worship, yet “Jehovah showed them favor and had mercy upon them . . . for the sake of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and he did not want to bring them to ruin.” (2 Kings 13:23; Exodus 2:24; Leviticus 26:42-45) Even after God accepted the Christian congregation as his people, he continued for a time to show special favor to the Israelites as a people who were the literal seed of Abraham.—Daniel 9:27.
Spiritual Seed of Abraham
12, 13. How did Jesus prove to be the primary part of the seed in the spiritual fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant?
12 The Abrahamic covenant had another fulfillment, a spiritual one. This greater fulfillment would not have been obvious before Jesus’ time, but we can be happy that it is clear in our time. We have the explanation of its fulfillment in God’s Word. Paul writes: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It says, not: ‘And to seeds,’ as in the case of many such, but as in the case of one: ‘And to your seed,’ who is Christ.”—Galatians 3:16.
13 Yes, the seed would come through just one line, or family, which was true of Jesus, born a natural Jew, a literal descendant of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-34) Additionally, he was part of the family of the Greater Abraham in heaven. Recall that with deep faith the patriarch Abraham had been willing to sacrifice his son Isaac if God wanted that. (Genesis 22:1-18; Hebrews 11:17-19) Similarly, Jehovah sent his only-begotten Son to earth to become a ransom sacrifice for believing mankind. (Romans 5:8; 8:32) It is thus understandable why Paul identified Jesus Christ as the principal part of the seed of Abraham according to this covenant.
14. What is the secondary part of the seed of Abraham, and to what further discussion does this lead?
14 Paul went on to indicate that God would ‘multiply Abraham’s seed’ in the spiritual fulfillment. He wrote: “If you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise.” (Genesis 22:17; Galatians 3:29) Such ones are the 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians who form a secondary part of the seed of Abraham. They are not in opposition to the primary part of the seed but “belong to Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:2; 15:23) We know that many of them cannot trace their ancestry to Abraham, for they are from non-Jewish nations. More crucial in the spiritual fulfillment, though, they are not naturally part of the family of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah; rather, they come from the imperfect family of sinner Adam. So we will need to see from later covenants how they can qualify to become part of “Abraham’s seed.”
Law Covenant Temporarily Added
15-17. (a) Why was the Law covenant added to the Abrahamic covenant? (b) How did the Law accomplish these objectives?
15 After God made the Abrahamic covenant as a fundamental step toward accomplishing his purpose, how would the line of the Seed be protected from contamination or extermination until the time for him to appear? When the Seed did arrive, how could true worshipers identify him? Paul answers such questions by pointing out God’s wisdom in temporarily adding the Law covenant. The apostle writes:
16 “Why, then, the Law? It was added to make transgressions manifest, until the seed should arrive to whom the promise had been made; and it was transmitted through angels by the hand of a mediator. . . . The Law has become our tutor leading to Christ, that we might be declared righteous due to faith.”—Galatians 3:19, 24.
17 At Mount Sinai, Jehovah made a unique national covenant between himself and Israel—the Law covenant, with Moses as its mediator.* (Galatians 4:24, 25) The people agreed to be in this covenant, and it was validated with the blood of bulls and goats. (Exodus 24:3-8; Hebrews 9:19, 20) It gave Israel theocratic laws and an outline for a righteous government. The covenant forbade intermarrying with pagans or sharing in immoral and false religious practices. It thus guarded the Israelites and was a force in preserving the line of the seed uncontaminated. (Exodus 20:4-6; 34:12-16) But since no imperfect Israelite could keep the Law completely, it made sins manifest. (Galatians 3:19) It also pointed to the need for a perfect, permanent priest and for a sacrifice that would not have to be repeated yearly. The Law was like a tutor that led a child to the needed instructor, who would be the Messiah, or Christ. (Hebrews 7:26-28; 9:9, 16-22; 10:1-4, 11) When it had accomplished its purpose, the Law covenant would end.—Galatians 3:24, 25; Romans 7:6; see “Questions From Readers,” page 31.
18. What further prospect was involved with the Law covenant, but why was this difficult to understand?
18 When making this temporary covenant, God also mentioned this thrilling objective: “If you will strictly obey my voice and will indeed keep my covenant, then you will certainly become my special property . . . And you yourselves will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5, 6) What a prospect! A nation of king-priests. How could that be, though? As the Law later specified, the ruling tribe (Judah) and the priestly tribe (Levi) were allotted different responsibilities. (Genesis 49:10; Exodus 28:43; Numbers 3:5-13) No man could be both a civil ruler and a priest. Still, God’s words at Exodus 19:5, 6 gave reason to believe that in some undisclosed manner, those in the Law covenant would have opportunity to provide the members of “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Davidic Kingdom Covenant
19. How was kingship pointed to in the covenants?
19 In time Jehovah added another covenant that further clarified how he would accomplish his purpose, to our eternal blessing. We have seen that the Abrahamic covenant pointed forward to kingship among the literal seed of Abraham. (Genesis 17:6) The Law covenant also anticipated kings among God’s people, for Moses told Israel: “When you eventually come into the [Promised Land] and you have said, ‘Let me set a king over myself like all the nations who are round about me’; you should without fail set over yourself a king whom Jehovah your God will choose. . . . You will not be allowed to put over yourself a foreigner.” (Deuteronomy 17:14, 15) How would God arrange for such kingship, and how would it bear on the Abrahamic covenant?
20. How did David and his line come into the picture?
20 Though Israel’s first king was Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, he was followed by the courageous and loyal David of Judah. (1 Samuel 8:5; 9:1, 2; 10:1; 16:1, 13) Well into David’s reign, Jehovah chose to make a covenant with David. First He said: “I shall certainly raise up your seed after you, which will come out of your inward parts; and I shall indeed firmly establish his kingdom. He is the one that will build a house for my name, and I shall certainly establish the throne of his kingdom firmly to time indefinite.” (2 Samuel 7:12, 13) As there indicated, David’s son Solomon became the next king, and he was used to construct a house, or temple, for God in Jerusalem. Yet, there was more.
21. The Davidic Kingdom covenant made provision for what?
21 Jehovah went on to make this covenant with David: “Your house and your kingdom will certainly be steadfast to time indefinite before you; your very throne will become one firmly established to time indefinite.” (2 Samuel 7:16) Plainly, God was thus establishing a kingly dynasty for Israel in David’s family. It was not to be just a constant succession of Davidic kings. Eventually, someone in David’s line would come to rule “to time indefinite, and his throne [would be] as the sun in front of [God].”—Psalm 89:20, 29, 34-36; Isaiah 55:3, 4.
22. How did the covenant with David relate to the line of the Seed, and with what outcome?
22 It is evident, then, that the Davidic covenant further narrowed down the line of the Seed. Even the first-century Jews realized that the Messiah would have to be a descendant of David. (John 7:41, 42) Jesus Christ, the primary part of the seed of the Abrahamic covenant, qualified to become the permanent Heir of this Davidic Kingdom, as an angel testified. (Luke 1:31-33) Jesus thus gained the right to rule over the Promised Land, the earthly realm over which David had reigned. This should increase our confidence in Jesus; he rules, not by illegal usurpation, but through an established legal arrangement, a divine covenant.
23. What questions and matters remain to be settled?
23 We have considered but four of the divine covenants bearing on how God arranged to accomplish his purpose to bring eternal blessings to mankind. Likely, you can see that the picture is not complete. Questions remain: Since humans continued imperfect, what priest or sacrifice could ever permanently change that? How would humans qualify to become part of Abraham’s seed? Is there reason to believe that the right to rule would expand to include more than a mere earthly territory? How could Abraham’s seed, both primary and secondary parts, bring a blessing to “all nations of the earth,” including each of us? Let us see.
Will You Benefit From God’s Covenants?
“‘By means of you all the nations will be blessed.’ Consequently those who adhere to faith are being blessed together with faithful Abraham.”—GALATIANS 3:8, 9.
1. What does history show as to the effect of many rulerships?
“BENEVOLENT [or, enlightened] despots” is what some 18th-century European rulers are called. They ‘meant well to govern their people with fatherly kindness, but their plans went wrong and their reforms fell flat.’* (The Encyclopedia Americana) This was a leading cause of the revolutions that soon engulfed Europe.
2, 3. How is Jehovah different from human monarchs?
2 How different Jehovah is from unpredictable human rulers. We can easily see mankind’s aching need for change that will finally produce real remedies for injustice and suffering. But we need not worry that God’s actions to bring this about depend on some whim. In the world’s most widely distributed book, he has documented his promise to bring lasting blessings to believing mankind. This will be regardless of people’s former nationality, race, education, or social standing. (Galatians 3:28) But can you rely on this?
3 The apostle Paul quoted part of the assurance God had given to Abraham: “Assuredly in blessing I will bless you.” Paul added that since “it is impossible for God to lie,” we “may have strong encouragement to lay hold on the hope set before us.” (Hebrews 6:13-18) Our confidence in those blessings can be further strengthened by noting the orderly way in which God laid the basis for accomplishing this.
4. How did God use various covenants to accomplish his purpose?
4 We have already seen that God made a covenant with Abraham involving a seed who would be instrumental in blessing “all nations of the earth.” (Genesis 22:17, 18) The Israelites became a fleshly seed, but in the more important spiritual sense, Jesus Christ proved to be the principal part of the seed of Abraham. Jesus was also the Son, or Seed, of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah. Christians who “belong to Christ” make up the secondary part of the seed of Abraham. (Galatians 3:16, 29) After forming the Abrahamic covenant, God temporarily added the Law covenant with the nation of Israel. It proved that the Israelites were sinners who needed a permanent priest and a perfect sacrifice. It guarded the line of the Seed and helped to identify him. The Law covenant also showed that, somehow, God would bring forth a nation of king-priests. While the Law was still in effect, God made a covenant with David to have a kingly dynasty in Israel. The Davidic Kingdom covenant also pointed to someone having permanent rulership over the earth.
5. What questions or problems still needed to be resolved?
5 Yet, there were aspects or objectives of these covenants that seemed incomplete or in need of clarification. For example, if the coming Seed was to be a king in David’s line, how could he be a permanent priest who would do more than previous priests? (Hebrews 5:1; 7:13, 14) Could this King govern more than a limited earthly realm? How would the secondary part of the seed qualify to be in the family of the Greater Abraham? And even if they could, what domain would they have, since most members did not descend from David? Let us see how God took legal steps in the form of additional covenants that would settle these questions, opening the way for our eternal blessing.
Covenant for a Heavenly Priest
6, 7. (a) According to Psalm 110:4, what additional covenant did God establish? (b) What background helps us to understand this added covenant?
6 As we saw, within the scope of the Law covenant, God covenanted with David for a descendant (a seed) who would reign permanently over an earthly domain. But Jehovah also revealed to David that a lasting priest would come. David wrote: “Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret): ‘You are a priest to time indefinite according to the manner of Melchizedek!’” (Psalm 110:4) What was behind this sworn word of God that amounted to a personal covenant between Jehovah and the coming Priest?
7 Melchizedek had been king of ancient Salem, which evidently was on the site where later the city Jerusalem (a name incorporating “Salem”) was built. The account of Abraham’s dealings with him highlights that he was a king who worshiped “the Most High God.” (Genesis 14:17-20) Yet, God’s statement at Psalm 110:4 shows that Melchizedek was also a priest, making him a unique person. He was both a king and a priest, and he served where the Davidic kings and the Levitical priests later carried out their divinely arranged functions.
8. With whom was this covenant for a priest like Melchizedek made, and with what result?
8 Paul supplies us with added details about this covenant for a priest like Melchizedek. For example, he says that it was Jesus Christ who was “called by God a high priest according to the manner of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:4-10; 6:20; 7:17, 21, 22) Though Melchizedek obviously had human parents, there is no record of his genealogy. So rather than Jesus’ inheriting the office of priest according to a recorded lineage from Melchizedek, his appointment came directly from God. Jesus’ priesthood will not be passed to a successor, for “he remains a priest perpetually.” This is so, for the benefits of his priestly service will be eternal. We can truly be blessed in having a priest who “is able also to save completely those who are approaching God through him” and to instruct and guide faithful ones eternally.—Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17, 23-25.
9, 10. How does knowledge of this fifth covenant expand our understanding of how God’s purpose will be fulfilled?
9 Another significant fact is that Jesus’ role as King-Priest goes beyond the earthly sphere. In the same context where he mentioned this covenant for a priest like Melchizedek, David wrote: “The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.’” We can thus see that Jesus—David’s Lord—was to have a place in heaven with Jehovah, which occurred at his ascension. From heaven, Christ can wield authority with his Father to subdue enemies and to execute judgments.—Psalm 110:1, 2; Acts 2:33-36; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 12:2.
10 Consequently, by knowing about this fifth covenant, we have an expanded view of the orderly, thorough way in which Jehovah will accomplish his purpose. It establishes that the primary part of the seed will also be a priest in heaven and that his authority as King-Priest will have universal range.—1 Peter 3:22.
New Covenant and the Secondary Part of the Seed
11. What complications existed as to the secondary part of the seed?
11 When we earlier considered the Abrahamic covenant, we noted that Jesus became the primary part of the seed by natural right. He directly descended from the patriarch Abraham, and as a perfect human, he was an accepted Son of the Greater Abraham. What, though, about humans who have the privilege of becoming the secondary part of Abraham’s seed, “heirs with reference to a promise”? (Galatians 3:29) Being imperfect, part of the family of sinner Adam, they would be unqualified to be in the family of Jehovah, the Greater Abraham. How could the impediment of imperfection be overcome? That would be impossible for humans, but it is not impossible for God.—Matthew 19:25, 26.
12, 13. (a) How did God foretell another covenant? (b) What special feature of this covenant merits our attention?
12 While the Law was still in effect, God foretold through his prophet: “I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; not one like the covenant that I concluded with their forefathers . . . ‘which covenant of mine they themselves broke’ . . . I will put my law within them, and in their heart I shall write it. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people. And they will no more teach . . . ‘Know Jehovah!’ for they will all of them know me . . . For I shall forgive their error, and their sin I shall remember no more.”—Jeremiah 31:31-34.
13 Observe that a feature of this new covenant was the forgiveness of sins, evidently in a way that was ‘not like’ the arrangement with animal sacrifices under the Law. Jesus shed light on this the day he died. After joining his disciples in celebrating the Passover as required by the Law, Christ instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal. This annual celebration would involve a shared cup of wine, about which Jesus said: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.”—Luke 22:14-20.
14. Why is the new covenant important in the producing of the secondary part of the seed?
14 Hence, the new covenant would be made operative by Jesus’ blood. On the basis of such a perfect sacrifice, God could ‘forgive error and sin’ once and for all. Think what that would mean! Being able to forgive completely the sins of devoted humans in Adam’s family, God could view them as sinless, beget them as spiritual sons of the Greater Abraham, and then anoint them with holy spirit. (Romans 8:14-17) Thus, the new covenant validated by Jesus’ sacrifice enables his disciples to become the secondary part of the seed of Abraham. Paul wrote: “Through his death [Jesus would] bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil; and [he would] emancipate all those who for fear of death were subject to slavery all through their lives. For he is really not assisting angels at all, but he is assisting Abraham’s seed.”—Hebrews 2:14-16; 9:14.
15. Who are the parties to the new covenant?
15 While Jesus would be Mediator and the validating sacrifice of the new covenant, who were the parties to the covenant? Jeremiah foretold that God would make this covenant with “the house of Israel.” Which Israel? Not fleshly Israel circumcised under the Law, for the new covenant made that former covenant obsolete. (Hebrews 8:7, 13; see page 31.) Now God would deal with Jews and Gentiles who by faith were figuratively ‘circumcised in the heart by spirit.’ This harmonizes with his saying that those in the new covenant would have ‘his laws written in their mind and in their hearts.’ (Romans 2:28, 29; Hebrews 8:10) Paul called such spiritual Jews “the Israel of God.”—Galatians 6:16; James 1:1.
16. How does the new covenant aid in accomplishing what Exodus 19:6 pointed to?
16 Since God was now dealing with spiritual Israel, a door of opportunity opened. When God established the Law, he had spoken of the sons of Israel becoming to him “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:6) Actually, fleshly Israel never could and never did become a nation in which all of them were king-priests. But Jews and Gentiles that were accepted as the secondary part of the seed of Abraham could become king-priests.* The apostle Peter confirmed this, telling such ones: “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.” He also wrote that an ‘unfading inheritance was reserved in the heavens for them.’—1 Peter 1:4; 2:9, 10.
17. Why is the new covenant “better” than the Law covenant?
17 Consequently, the new covenant works with the preexisting Abrahamic covenant to produce the secondary part of the seed. This new covenant between Jehovah and spirit-begotten Christians allows for the formation of a heavenly nation of king-priests in the royal family of the Greater Abraham. We can see, then, why Paul said that this is “a correspondingly better covenant, which has been legally established upon better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6) Those promises include the blessing of having God’s law written in the hearts of devoted ones whose sins are not called to mind, and with all ‘knowing Jehovah, from the least to the greatest.’—Hebrews 8:11.
Jesus’ Covenant for a Kingdom
18. In what sense did the covenants that we have considered so far not completely accomplish God’s purpose?
18 Reflecting on the six covenants that we have discussed, it might seem that Jehovah has legally arranged all that is needed to accomplish his purpose. Yet, the Bible brings up another covenant that ties in with what we have considered, a covenant that rounds out additional aspects of this vital matter. Spirit-begotten Christians rightly expect that ‘the Lord will deliver them from every wicked work and will save them for his heavenly kingdom.’ (2 Timothy 4:18) In heaven, they will be a nation of king-priests, but what will be their domain? When they are raised to heaven, Christ is already there as a perfect high priest. He will also have stood up with kingly power for universal rule. (Psalm 2:6-9; Revelation 11:15) What is there for the other king-priests to do?
19. When and how was a seventh important covenant made?
19 On Nisan 14, 33 C.E., the evening Jesus instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal and mentioned “the new covenant by virtue of [his] blood,” he spoke of another covenant, the seventh for discussion. He told his faithful apostles: “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 22:20, 28-30) Just as the Father had made the covenant with Jesus to be a priest like Melchizedek, so Christ made a personal covenant with his loyal followers.
20 The 11 apostles had certainly stuck with Jesus in his trials, and the covenant showed that they would sit on thrones. Further, Revelation 3:21 proves that all spirit-begotten Christians who prove faithful will sit on heavenly thrones. Thus, this covenant is with all 144,000 who have been bought with Jesus’ blood to be taken to heaven as priests and “to rule as kings over the earth.” (Revelation 1:4-6; 5:9, 10; 20:6) The covenant that Jesus makes with them joins them to him to share his dominion. In a sense, it is as though a bride from a noble family was joined by marriage to a ruling monarch. She thus comes into position to share his kingdom rule.—John 3:29; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7, 8.
21, 22. What blessing can be expected because of what these covenants accomplish?
21 What benefits will this open up for obedient mankind? Neither Jesus nor the 144,000 will be like the benevolent despots who “could provide no real solutions.” Rather, we are assured that Jesus is a high priest “who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin.” We can therefore understand why he ‘can sympathize’ with human weaknesses and why the “other sheep,” as has been true of anointed Christians, can also, through Christ, approach God’s throne “with freeness of speech.” Thus, they also “may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time.”—Hebrews 4:14-16; John 10:16.
22 Those covenanted to share with Jesus as king-priests also share in the blessing of mankind. As the ancient Levitical priests benefited the entire nation of Israel, so those serving on heavenly thrones with Jesus will judge in righteousness all those living on earth. (Luke 22:30) Those king-priests were once human, so they will be sympathetic to mankind’s needs. This secondary part of the seed will cooperate with Jesus in seeing that “all the nations will be blessed.”—Galatians 3:8.
23. How should individuals act in cooperation with these covenants?
23 All who desire to share in that blessing upon mankind, thus benefiting from God’s covenants, are now being invited to do so. (Revelation 22:17) One fine step is to be present for the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal, which will be held after sunset on Wednesday, March 22, 1989. Please make plans now to attend with one of the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. There you will learn more about divine covenants and will further see how you can benefit from them.