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Sunday: The Idea of the Covenant — 7 Comments

  1. I don't know how many of our readership have been through the process of writing a mission statement for a church or institution. I have been through it several times in various schools, churches and, of course, Avondale College. Typically there have been various staff meetings, committee meetings and even subcommittee meetings to work out was was important and how they should be worded. In the final analysis, I have to say that the most important thing about a mission statement was not the final wording, but the dynamic of working together on it. It was during that time of interaction that we started to understand ourselves, one another, and our institution. It was the process of internalisation of the ideals and principles we were discussing that left a lasting impression and sense of motivation on all those who took part.

    In a sense, Nehemiah 10 records this process for developing of the covenant, and even goes so far at to name those who were on the committees. It was the constitution for the reconstructed new nation, a seriously important exercise. We will in all likelihood spend most of our time looking at what the convenient said in this week's study, but spare a little thought for the process, because ultimately the process may be the really important thing for us.

    Is there a parallel between the Nehemiah covenant process and our development of "fundamentals" today? Is our process of internalisation merely indoctrination, or do we encourage a deep seated commitment to greater understanding?

    Listen to what Jeremiah has to say:

    Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
    And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

    ... and perhaps that is why studying the Sabbath School lesson together is important.

    Jonathan Edwards, was a Puritan Preacher in the 1700s. He was one of the most respected preachers in his day.
    An American educator, A.E. Winship decided to trace the descendants of Jonathan Edwards almost 150 years after his death. His findings are remarkable, especially when compared to another man from the same time period known as Max Jukes.
    Jonathan Edwards’ legacy includes: 1 U.S. Vice-President, 1 Dean of a law school, 1 dean of a medical school, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 60 doctors, 65 professors, 75 Military officers, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers, 100 clergymen, and 285 college graduates.

    Max Jukes’ legacy came to people’s attention when the family trees of 42 different men in the New York prison system were traced back to him. He lived in New York at about the same period as Edwards. The Jukes family originally was studied by sociologist Richard L. Dugdale in 1877.

    Jukes’ descendants included: 7 murderers, 60 thieves, 190 prostitutes, 150 other convicts, 310 paupers, and 440 who were physically wrecked by addiction to alcohol. Of the 1,200 descendants that were studied, 300 died prematurely.

    These contrasting legacies provide an example of what some call the five-generation rule. “How a parent raises their child — the love they give, the values they teach, the emotional environment they offer, the education they provide — influences not only their children but the four generations to follow, either for good or evil.” What a challenging thought! If someone studied your descendants four generations later, what would you want them to discover? Do you want an Edwards’ legacy or a Jukes’ legacy? The life you live will determine the legacy you leave!


  3. The Holy Ghost guides people into all truth.

    After reading your post, I wondered, did the people who conducted the research on Jonathan Edwards only looked at the positives of his family and not the negatives? Similar to Jukes' legacy, did the people who conducted the research looked at the negatives and did not researched the positives?

    I have been a Researcher for sometime and what I learnt, like any other thing, people bring to research bias. Was any form of bias existed? What is research bias? also called experimenter bias, is a process where the scientists/researcher performing the research influence the results, in order to portray a certain outcome.

  4. I find it so fascinating that the concept of the LORD's covenant with human kind is in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. That there is only one overarching Everlasting Covenant of Grace, which has what I call sub-covenants.
    The LORD draws up the Covenant and people can only accept or reject it there are no negotiations. We see that many misunderstand or pervert it but that is not the true covenant.
    The Everlasting Covenant of Love is summed up as follows:
    The LORD says
    I will be your God,
    You will be My people,
    And I will dwell with you.

    We find this formula everywhere in the Bible including in the Words of Jesus, He said: abide (dwell)in Me and I in you, see John 15:1-10
    Rev 21:3 the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, God himself will be with them and be their God.
    These are just a couple of examples.

  5. To be guided by the Holy Ghost.

    I was doing further studying about the covenant given by Ezra-Nehemiah. According to my study, that was not a new covenant.
    The Lord had given the Israelites 5 different laws.
    1.Ceremonial law
    2.Memorial law
    3.Civic law
    4.Statue and Judgment law
    5.Criminal law.
    The people were bound by a covenant to keep these. In Deutro ch 27-29 the blessing and the curse were pronounced for all those who broke those laws. In Solomon prayer, he reference to those laws in totality, and the curse and blessing that would happened if the Israelites sin against God.
    Now comes alone Ezra and Nehemiah with the same revived blessing and curse to the people.

    The question is, do humans do away with covenants or are covenants being fulfilled but the same old covenant stands?
    Noted: the new covenant promised to God people will be the same old covenant written on our heart.

  6. "Sin is the antithesis of creation, bringing de-creation (death) instead."

    "How have you personally experienced the reality of sin’s destructive force?"

    It is heartening to see the lesson starting to accurately present sin for what it actually is - THE source and mechanism of destruction due to its disconnection from life (see Jeremiah 2:17-19; 4:18; Psalm 7:14-17; Galatians 6:8; James 1:14,15). This is why the inherent nature and character of sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) - meaning that it is anything that is out of harmony with or at odds with the natural laws and moral laws that alone promote and enable true life to be viable.

    Perhaps we are once again starting to recover the view that early Adventism once had:

    "We are not to regard God as waiting to punish the sinner for his sin. The sinner brings the punishment upon himself. His own actions start a train of circumstances that bring the sure result. Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character, and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is ruin and death." (Ellen White: 1 Selected Messages 235.2)

    Of significance, the Greek word translated perish (eg John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9) can validly be interpreted to mean coming to total destruction by a process of corruption and ruin caused by internal rather than external sources - ie self-destruction. This interpretation is consistent with the verses quoted above and with the Ellen White quote.


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