Lesson 4 – The Covenant of Peace

Lesson 4 – The Covenant of Peace2016-11-27T17:37:01+00:00

Sabbath, July 26, 2008

Introduction

“I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” Isaiah 42:6.

An everlasting covenant

1. What has been God’s holy desire for His people since the days of the patriarchs?
“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”
“And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”
Genesis 17:7, 19.

“This same covenant was renewed to Abraham in the promise, ‘In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.’ Genesis 22:18. This promise pointed to Christ. So Abraham understood it (see Galatians 3:8, 16), and he trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It was this faith that was accounted unto him for righteousness. The covenant with Abraham also maintained the authority of God’s law. The Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said, ‘I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect.’ Genesis 17:1. The testimony of God concerning His faithful servant was, ‘Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.’ Genesis 26:5. And the Lord declared to him, ‘I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.’ Genesis 17:7.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 370.

2. What testimony full of hope did David give many centuries later?
“Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant” 1 Chronicles 16:15-17.

“Let those who are oppressed under a sense of sin remember that there is hope for them. The salvation of the human race has ever been the object of the councils of heaven. The covenant of mercy was made before the foundation of the world. It has existed from all eternity, and is called the everlasting covenant. So surely as there never was a time when God was not, so surely there never was a moment when it was not the delight of the eternal mind to manifest His grace to humanity.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 934.

God’s covenant of peace

3. What was revealed about God’s character when He established the everlasting covenant with the patriarchs and with Israel of old?
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee…. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. ” Isaiah 54:10, 13.

“Through all our trials we have a never-failing Helper. He does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation, to battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow. Though now He is hidden from mortal sight, the ear of faith can hear His voice saying, Fear not; I am with you. ‘I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.’ Revelation 1:18. I have endured your sorrows, experienced your struggles, encountered your temptations. I know your tears; I also have wept. The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know. Think not that you are desolate and forsaken. Though your pain touch no responsive chord in any heart on earth, look unto Me, and live. ‘The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.’ Isaiah 54:10.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 483.

“… Amid the tempest of divine judgment the children of God will have no cause for fear. ‘The Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.’ Joel 3:16. The day that brings terror and destruction to the transgressors of God’s law will bring to the obedient ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory.’ ‘Gather My saints together unto Me,’ saith the Lord, ‘those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is Judge Himself.’

“… ‘I, even I, am He that comforteth you.’ Isaiah 51:12. ‘For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.’ Isaiah 54:10.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 341, 342.

4. Was the covenant promised to the scattered and suffering flock of a different nature? What does this mean?
“And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.” Ezekiel 34:25.
“Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.” Ezekiel 37:26.

“God had commanded that Jerusalem be rebuilt; the vision of the measuring of the city was an assurance that He would give comfort and strength to His afflicted ones, and fulfill to them the promises of His everlasting covenant. His protecting care, He declared, would be like ‘a wall of fire round about;’ and through them His glory would be revealed to all the sons of men. That which He was accomplishing for His people was to be known in all the earth. ‘Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.’ Isaiah 12:6.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 581.

The priesthood’s covenant of peace

5. Was there another covenant of peace made by the Lord with certain of His servants?
“Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.” Numbers 25:12, 13.

“‘The Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto Him, and to bless in His name.’ ‘My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared Me, and was afraid before My name…. He walked with Me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.’ Deuteronomy 10:8; Malachi 2:5, 6.” –Education, p. 148.

6. What blessings were included in this covenant? When did it reach its fulfilment in the Levitical ministry?
“My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.” Malachi 2:5.
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165.

“The covenant of ‘life and peace’ God had made with the sons of Levi–the covenant which, if kept, would have brought untold blessing–the Lord now offered to renew with those who once had been spiritual leaders, but who through transgression had become ‘contemptible and base before all the people.’ Malachi 2:5, 9.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 706.

Entering into the covenant of peace

7. Through whom may we enter into the covenant with God and receive all of its blessings?
“I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” Isaiah 42:6.
“Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.” Isaiah 49:7, 8.

“Of the mission of the Saviour the word of Jehovah was: ‘I the Lord have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.’ Verses 6-9.

“Through the promised Seed, the God of Israel was to bring deliverance to Zion. ‘There shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.’ ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.Isaiah 11:1; 7:14, 15.…

“It was to Christ that the prophetic promise was given: ‘Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him whom man despiseth, to Him whom the nation abhorreth,… thus saith the Lord,… I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages…’.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 693-695, 689.

8. Thanks to Him, what is now possible also to those who are alienated and estranged from the covenant of promise?
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” Colossians 1:21, 22.

“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” Ephesians 2:11-14.

“The glory of heaven is in lifting up the fallen, comforting the distressed. And wherever Christ abides in human hearts, He will be revealed in the same way. Wherever it acts, the religion of Christ will bless. Wherever it works, there is brightness.

“No distinction on account of nationality, race, or caste, is recognized by God. He is the Maker of all mankind. All men are of one family by creation, and all are one through redemption. Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple, that every soul may have free access to God. His love is so broad, so deep, so full, that it penetrates everywhere. It lifts out of Satan’s circle the poor souls who have been deluded by his deceptions. It places them within reach of the throne of God, the throne encircled by the rainbow of promise.

“In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free. All are brought nigh by His precious blood. (Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:13.)” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 386.

An object lesson
His word is enough

When William, Prince of Orange, delivered a certain document to a young man in the hope of receiving help from him in his work, he promised to the youth a high employ in his kingdom. But the young man refused the document. Why? He explained his reason thus: “The word of your Majesty is enough. I would not want to serve a king in whose word I could not trust!”

What happens with us and the Word of our Lord? The Word of our King is more than enough and worthy of our complete trust. He has not only given us promises; He has also made a covenant with us, ratifying it with an oath and a sacrifice of peace!