A COVENANT FOR ALL PEOPLES
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
OUR primary goal within these writings is to follow God's Scriptural teachings concerning our institutional connection and relationship within Abraham's Covenants with God.
So as we attempt to understand what the Church represents within this present dispensation of grace, it is essential that we begin by fully understanding Abraham's relationship with God and what that relationship established.
The Scriptures first tell us that Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness. (Gen.15:6 /Rom.4:3) Which is precisely the same basic qualifications required for the present day Christian believer: Salvation is facilitated entirely by grace through faith—a free and unmerited gift from God. (Gen.17:1—27 /Eph.2:8—9)
It is through Abraham's relationship with God that the Christian Church receives her legal standing within the Everlasting Covenant—the Covenant of Grace. Which is the essential fulfillment of God's earlier promise to Abraham—In your seed (Christ) shall all the nations /families of the earth be blessed. (Gen.12:3; 17:4; 22:18; 26:4).
It is also confirmed in Gal.3:8 and 1Cor.2:7—10, that the Christian era is in fact the prophetic fulfillment of this same promise to Abraham: "The Scriptures foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, in you shall all the nations be blessed." "A mystery that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory." ("our" = The institutional membership of the New Testament Christian Church.)
Those who would argue this point, that the church age was not foretold in the Old Testament, need go no further than these revealing Scriptures. The ultimate justification of the Gentiles, in the culmination of God’s reconciliation of the world, was an inclusive part of the original reason for the institution of the Everlasting Covenant with Abraham.
Gal.3:16—18 tells us that the Old Covenant—the law, came four hundred and thirty years after the Covenants that God made with Abraham: The Everlasting Covenant with both its visible and its invisible component parts. Ref.Gen.17:1—27; Gal.4:21—31 That is, the Everlasting Covenant with its visible component that is initially seen in the visible Circumcised Flesh Covenant—the Covenant of Bondage: (Gen.17:1—14, 20, 22—27) As well as the Everlasting Covenant with its invisible component that is seen in the invisible Covenant of Promise. (Gen.17:15—19, 21)
We must also understand from Scripture that the Old Covenant, being legally fulfilled in its visible character by Israel's obedience to God's commanded initiatory rites, does not annul or make the earlier promise of no effect. That is, that both the visible characteristics of the Covenant and the invisible characteristics of the Covenant must always be kept in an active state—as they are always coexistent within God's Everlasting Covenant.
Yet, even though these characteristics are coexistent within God's whole reconciliation, it is imperative that we be able to Scripturally discriminate between the two.
The Scriptures further tell us that Abraham received only the visible sign of Circumcision in the Genesis 17 account. Which, from our vantage point of New Testament revelation, was always pointing towards the invisible Circumcision: the invisible seal of the righteousness of the faith that he (Abraham) had while he was in his original state of Uncircumcision. That he (Abraham) might be the father of all them that believe: Though they be in Uncircumcision, that righteousness might be accounted unto them. (Rom.4:11) This is that sure legal covenant connection for the institutional Christian Church.
To the end, that the promise may be sure to all the seed: Not to that only which is of the law (visible Israel), but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (Jews and non—Jews alike). (Rom.4:16)
Now it was not written for Abraham's sake alone, that it was accounted unto him, but for our sake (we of the Church) also, unto whom it shall be accounted. (Rom.4:23 and 24)
Then looking more closely at just the invisible priesthood that is being more succinctly manifested here in the New Testament Christian era:
Now we (who might be the elect members of Christ’s holy priesthood) brethren, as Isaac was, are children of the promise. (Gal.4:28)
And if you are Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise. (Gal.3:29)
And we of the elect Church have strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us: Which we have as an anchor of our soul. A hope both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil. (Heb.6:18,19)
Yet, the most important understandings that are absolutely essential for any exegesis of the Scriptures, are derived only from correctly deciphering the complex definitions of God's peoples, God's Covenants, and God's Kingdom. And I would challenge all who read these notes to accomplish that most difficult task.All Scripture references are (RASV—1901)