184 – THE COVENANT
What is a covenant? It is a contract established between two people. They can join in a covenant in a good sense or in a bad sense. Make an agreement with rebels. Agree with the crime is to cover it up. An agreement or covenant comprises many senses, the religious also, and even the commercial. For example: two people contract the purchase and sale of a property. If the buyer does not have the means to fulfill the contract, the owner, by force of the law, executes the contract, and the purchaser loses the right to the land acquired. The very property is the warranty of the man who is selling it, and the purchaser loses whatever he has already paid according with the contract. It is not proper for the man who is selling the property, besides taking it back, to revenge upon the debtor, who has already lost everything: the acquired good and the installments done. If the trader sells land that does not belong to him, he can be sued and arrested as a thief, guilty of stellionate. The law demands that a purchaser be up to the purchase he plans to make. For example, someone went to buy a car. He was not an approved client because his monthly income was insufficient.
The history of Israel has extraordinary incidents. The people were suffering under a heavy yoke in Egypt. Jehovah revealed himself to Moses and said to him, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt” (Ex. 3:7). And Jehovah hurt Egypt with malignant and destructive plagues by the hand of Moses. They were so many that Pharaoh let the people leave with great spoil. As they arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai, Jehovah forced the people to firm a covenant, that is, an agreement, in which the people was put under obligation to fulfill the law and the statutes of Jehovah. This pact was sealed with blood (Ex. 24:1:8). The fulfillment of this agreement between god and men, the payment for entering into possession of the Promised Land, Canaan, was, “For Jehovah your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you shall eat food without scarcity, in which you shall not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper” (Deut. 8:7-10). The non-conformity with the law would be the violation of the pact or agreement, and the people would lose the land and their lives (Deut. 8:19-20). The people did not fulfill their part in the agreement when they did not obey the law and the statutes of Jehovah.
Breaking the agreement, the people lost their right to the land of Canaan. Israel, the kingdom of the north, was taken captive to Assyria in the year 720 BC (2 Kings 17:15-23). One hundred and twenty years later, the Chaldeans invaded the kingdom of Judah. The Bible narrative says: “Therefore, He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old men or infirm; He gave them all into his hand. And all the articles of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of Jehovah, and the treasures of the king and of his officers, he brought them all to Babylon. Then they burned the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its fortified buildings with fire, and destroyed all its valuable articles. And those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia” (2 Cor. 36:17-20). Israel did not fulfill the covenant established with Jehovah, lost everything that Jehovah had given them. They lived in captivity in Egypt, and they were again in captivity, now in Assyria and Babylon.
The legal question we may ask is this: Besides losing the right to the Promised Land, entering once again to a even worse captivity, is it right that god, that is, Jehovah, execute a cruel vengeance of extermination by plagues, pestilences and brief executions? We remember here of the great holocaust, where more than 6 million Jews were killed in the II World War (1939 through 1945). When they violated this agreement, would vengeance on the part of god be appropriate? Is it right for innocent children and parents to die a humiliating death in this vengeance? Jehovah expresses himself in this way: “I will also bring upon you a sword that will execute vengeance for the covenant; and when you gather together into your cities, I will send pestilences among you, so that you shall be delivered into enemy hands” (Lev. 26:25). “Further, you shall eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you shall eat” (Lev. 26:29). The city was surrounded with the enemy’s armies about it, and they run out of food. Hunger increased to such extent, that children were sacrificed that his brothers may live. What makes this so dark is that Jehovah forged this cannibalism. It was already written in the Law of Moses, for it was a plan of Jehovah, the pious (Deut. 28:53-58). Jeremiah, the prophet, reveals that Jehovah forced this horrible man-eating (Jer. 19:9). Ezekiel also refers to this atrocity (Ezek. 5:8-11).
Our second question is: Is it right for god, the creator, the eternal wisdom, the almighty, the inaccessible light to establish an agreement as if he and man were equals? It would be the same as man making an agreement with a flea, or with a tiny weed.
Let us examine the concept that Jehovah has of man to see if there is basis for an agreement as if between equals, so that the punishment of the loser should be with eternal vengeance and hatred. Would men be so spiritually responsible that his sin would be unworthy of forgiveness? “‘Although you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your iniquity is before Me,’ declares Jehovah God” (Jer. 2:22). Who is man, to Jehovah?
- Men are dust. “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Ps. 103:14).
- “Thou dost turn man back into dust, and dost say, ‘Return, O children of men.’ For a thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. Thou hast swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes, and sprouts anew; towards evening it fades, and withers away” (Ps. 90:3-6).
- Men are like grasshoppers. “It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers” (Is. 40:22).
- Men are like the animals, Jehovah says by the mouth of Solomon: “I said to myself concerning the sons of men, ‘God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.’ For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust” (Eccl. 3:18-20).
- Men, in the concept of Jehovah, are animals or worms “How then can a man be just with God? Or how can he be clean who is born of woman? If even the moon has no brightness and the stars are not pure in His sight, how much less man, that maggot, and the son of man, that worm!” (Job. 25:4-6).
Since this is the concept that Jehovah has of man, the covenant made with these worms was wicked. It was a trap to kill them, and to destroy them. This is why death reigned from Adam until Jesus (Rom. 5:17). Why did Jehovah try to destroy men? It was because he wished to prevent men to rise, through Christ, to judge the angels, and to inherit the eternal kingdom of God with Jesus (1 Cor. 6:1-3; 2 Tim. 2:12). God, the Father, did not created men to be a worm and a slave, but to rule with Christ, eternally.
The New Testament does not include a covenant or an agreement. There it is grace (Titus 2:11). There it is ransom paid with the blood of Jesus (John 1:18-19). The blood of Jesus delivers us from the curses of Jehovah (Gal. 3:10, 13). There exists the blessing of the Gospel, now, and free salvation (Rom. 13:29). Now, in Jesus, God, the Father, creates us afresh for a life of incorruption (James 1:18; 2 Cor. 2:17; Eph. 4:22-24).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira