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The Truth Shall Make You Free



CHAPTER XIII

THE COVENANT FOR FREEDOM

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T0 MEN the time seemed to be long since Jehovah's covenant at Eden, that the seed, or offspring, of His "woman" should crush the Serpent's head. God's covenant is his agreement, always solemn, whereby he expresses his purpose. This declaration of purpose, when made solely on God's part and without taking into consideration any creature or creatures, or without depending upon creature actions, is a unilateral or one-sided covenant.

The covenant at Eden was stated directly to the serpent representing Satan, but it was not made with Satan the enemy, nor was it made with Adam or Eve, each of whom had joined Satan in rebellion. Moreover, the covenant was not made dependent upon what any of these unfaithful creatures, devil or human, should do. Hence the covenant was one-sided, or unilateral. Its fulfillment depended entirely and absolutely upon Almighty God alone. This made it sure of being carried out perfectly. The purpose of Jehovah as declared in the hearing of the enemy could not fail, in spite of the enmity expressed by such foe. God-fearing men may accordingly

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exercise full faith in God that he will vindicate his word or uphold it as true. He will thereby vindicate his name as attached to that word. In foretelling the destruction of unfaithful Lucifer, Satan, who was back of building the city of Babel, or Babylon, the covenant-keeping God says: "Jehovah of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely, as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand. For Jehovah of hosts hath purposed, and who shall annul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?" —Isaiah 14:4,12,24,27, A.R.V.

About four hundred years after the Flood Jehovah God gave more information in another covenant concerning the promised "Seed". Shem, one of the eight Flood survivors, was still living, and also Arphaxad (or Arpachshad), whose name means "Chaldean's land". According to Noah's blessing upon Shem, the "seed" was to be expected in his line of descent, and God chose to have that line run through Arphaxad. In course of time a city named "Ur of the Chaldees" was built on the southern bank of the river Euphrates, near where it emptied into the Persian Gulf. The Euphrates was one of the four rivers that had run out of the garden of Eden. When Shem was 450 years old and his son Arphaxad was 350 years old, a babe was born in Ur of the Chaldees, and his father Terah named him "Abram". His name means "lofty father". He was of the line of descent from Shem through Arphaxad. Abram's father

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Terah had three sons, the first being born when Terah was seventy years old. Abram was the youngest, being born seventy-five years before Terah died, but because of Abram's prominence in the purpose of God he is named first of Terah's sons. —Genesis 11: 26, 32; 12: 4.

Abram grew up in Ur of the Chaldees. As Abram's and Shem's lives overlapped for 150 years, Abraham could learn direct from Shem an account of the Flood and the conditions preceding it, and also about Jehovah's promise in Eden of deliverance by a "seed". Abram manifested faith in these matters and hence in Jehovah God, and he looked forward to the day of the "seed", the day of freedom. This pleased God. He had respect to Abram for his faith. One of Abram's descendants tells what followed, saying: "The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said unto him, Get thee out of thy land, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Haran: and from thence, when his father was dead, God removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell." —Acts 7:2-4, A.R.V.

The account by another of Abram's descendants, Moses, reads: "Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and

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make thy name great; and be thou a blessing; and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." —Genesis 12:1-3, A.R.V.

This fixed it, that the seed of God's "woman" should be through this faithful man, this witness of Jehovah. This declaration of divine purpose to Abram was a unilateral covenant of Jehovah, further foretelling the channel through which the "seed" should come, and also guaranteeing that a blessing should come to all families of the earth, not indiscriminately or automatically, but only to all those that blessed Abram, whereas those that cursed him should be cursed. In harmony with this covenant God later changed the name of the 99-year-old Abram to that of Abraham, meaning "father of a multitude".

One of Abraham's descendants became an apostle of the "seed" and declared under inspiration that Abraham was used as a type or prophetic figure of Jehovah God. God is himself the "Lofty Father" and is the Father of the "seed" and of the multitude of those who get life and freedom through the "seed". (Bo-mans 4:16,17, margin] Therefore to Abraham God really promised that He would make the name of Jehovah great and that in Jehovah should all the families of the earth be blessed, if they blessed Jehovah's name. Those that cursed Jehovah should be cursed like the Serpent. By this fact Abraham's wife would also become a

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type, a prophetic picture of God's "woman", who brings forth the "seed", God's "woman" being his holy organization named Zion. For this reason God changed the name of Abraham's wife from Sarai to Sarah, meaning "princess".

Whether Abraham would be a party to this covenant depended upon his faith as proved by works. When he did leave the land of the Chaldeans and moved into the land which God showed him, namely, the land of Canaan, now Palestine, then the covenant applied to him, he became party thereto, and it became a two-sided or bilateral covenant. However, the unilateral-covenant purpose of Jehovah God as given at Eden still stood and depended upon no man, but would go through regardless of any individual creature. Whether a creature will have a part while that covenant is undergoing fulfillment rests upon the faith and faithfulness of such creature. Abraham showed faith and faithfulness to the end, and hence was used as a party to the covenant.

Abraham did not settle down in Canaan and build a city with his own hands and lay claim to the country. The Canaanites worshiped false gods, demons, but Abraham worshiped Jehovah. Once Abraham was obliged to go down into Egypt. Then Satan the Devil, in his enmity against the promised seed, tried to bring about the defilement of Abraham's wife Sarah by Pharaoh, Egypt's king, and thus make Sarah unfit to be the mother of Abraham's offspring.

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Jehovah God, the Greater Abraham, frustrated Satan's move and kept Sarah clean and pure and fit to be used as a picture of God's "woman". In the politics of Canaan land Abraham took no part, and as to the local controversies, or the controversies with outside nations, he stood absolutely neutral. He believed that God would give him and his offspring the land in His own time and way.

At that time in Canaan there was an outstanding king, one who did worship Jehovah God. His name was Melchizedek. He was ruler of the city of Salem, which later became Jerusalem, some think. The Bible gives no record of Melehizedek's father or mother or of his descendants, nor of his age, nor of the end of his life. He and Abraham met, in the following way: Abraham's nephew Lot had come with him to Canaan. For economic reasons Lot separated from Abraham and pitched his tents near Sodom in the Jordan river plain. Thereby Lot was near the scene of a fight between five local kings and four aggressor kings from outside Canaan. Lot and his household were scooped up among the captives taken by the victorious aggressor kings and were carried away. Not because Lot was his flesh-and-blood relative, but because Lot was one of the faith of the same God as Abraham worshiped, Abraham armed 318 of his trained servants and pursued the plunderers. He smote them and recovered his fellow believer Lot and his household and property. On his way back, as Abraham approached

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Salem, its king came forth to meet him, and offered him refreshments.

"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all." (Genesis 14:18-20) This priest-king blessed Abraham, and Abraham gave him a tenth of all he had recovered.

This happening was maneuvered of Jehovah God and was prophetic. It foretold that the "seed" of God's organization would be Jehovah's high priest and also a king of righteousness and peace, and that he would vindicate Jehovah's name and bless it. Hence God made this declaration concerning the "seed", saying: "Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." (Psalm 110: 4, A.R.V.) This gives us a hope of a government of righteousness and peace over earth by God's "seed". "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all;

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first being by interpretation [of the name Melchisedec] King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how



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great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils."  —Hebrews 6:19,20; 7:1-4.

Abraham grew to ninety-nine years of age, and it now seemed hopeless that he would have offspring by Sarah, ten years younger than himself. Then Almighty God by his messenger appeared unto Abraham and promised that almighty power would duly give Abraham and Sarah a son, whose name should be called Isaac. Before the birth of Isaac the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone took place, and Lot and his two daughters were saved from that fate. Once again Satan the Devil tried to contaminate Abraham's offspring by the action of the Philistine king Abimelech, but God delivered Sarah from defilement by this devil-worshiper and restored her to Abraham. Thereafter Isaac was born, when Abraham was one hundred years old, hence by a miracle of God and by His spirit or active force. He was not "born after the flesh", but was "born after the spirit". —Galatians 4: 28, 29; Romans 4:17-22.

Isaac was Abraham's only begotten son by his wife Sarah, and he loved Isaac most dearly. In this relationship of these three Abraham typified or pictured Jehovah God as Father of the promised "seed". His wife Sarah pictured God's holy organization from which Jehovah brings forth the "seed", and which organization is symbolized in Scripture as a chaste, holy "woman" of God and named Zion. The "woman" is God's

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universal organization composed of his faithful creatures who are in covenant relationship with him, being consecrated and devoted to him. The entire universal organization is united to him by holy bonds like the bonds of wedlock, from which there is no divorce except with destruction to the unfaithful creature thus separated from God. Isaac pictured God's only begotten Son, the Word, the Head of God's universal organization. God's only begotten Son was taken out of that organization to become the "man Christ Jesus" and thereafter become a king and priest for ever "after the order of Melchizedek".

Abraham brought up Isaac in the faith and obedience of Jehovah, as God had said: "For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." (Genesis 18:19, A.R.V.) When Isaac had grown to be a young man with faith like his father's, then God put both father and son to a great test of their integrity or soundness of faith and devotion toward God. By faithfully performing their parts through His grace and help, the father and son would have part in a prophetic drama foreshadowing events of highest importance to come. God commanded Abraham to take Isaac and travel a three days' journey northward to the land of Moriah and there offer him up as a whole burnt-offering to God on one of the mountains.

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Abraham, by obeying and proceeding to the sacrifice, proved his love for his Creator was greater than his love for his only begotten son.

When they reached the place of sacrifice and reared an altar therefor, Abraham revealed to Isaac that God had designated him to be the victim. Isaac did not run away, but with devotion to Jehovah God he determined to keep his integrity toward his God faithfully to the death. He submitted to being bound and laid upon the wood of the altar. Abraham raised the knife in his hand and was at the extreme point of striking Isaac dead before lighting the altar fire. At that instant Isaac was as good as dead for his faithfulness. To Abraham he was as good as dead and fully sacrificed. Another instant and —but in a flash Jehovah's angel called and halted the death-thrust and declared Abraham's test of his fear of God was sufficient. Then God provided a ram caught in the thicket by his horns, and Abraham offered it up in symbol of Isaac.

"And the angel of Jehovah called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 22:15-18, A.R.V.) With this

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utterance God's covenant with Abraham was complete. It showed that freedom from the enemies of God and man would be won by the victory of the promised "seed". God pointed out that others should be associated together with the "seed" as sons of God, but that the number of them all was not yet to be disclosed but was like the stars and the grains of sand, beyond man's power then to number.

By the "seed" all nations blessing and obeying Jehovah God should be blessed. According to the Hebrew text: "So shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves in thy seed." (Roth.) The blessing would not be automatic, but by exercising faith and obedience the people of all nationalities would receive blessing.

In this prophetic drama of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah it was correctly foreshadowed that the Son of God would keep his integrity toward God faithfully to the death for the vindication of his Father's name, and that out of love for the righteous new world Jehovah God would give this Son to be the Seed and the King like Melchizedek. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." —John 3:16.



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