George C. Lubbers is a minister emeritus in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
And this “end” shall be “as with a flood.”
The suggestion is that God will perform a very final and cataclysmic judgment upon the earthly city and theocracy of Israel, just as in the days of Noah. It will be a sudden and final destruction. Even as in the days of Noah, when God destroyed the wicked with the waters of the flood, so shall it be when God sends the Roman legions to surround the city; then shall the earthly temple of Herod be destroyed, and there shall be no place to which to flee in order to escape (Luke 21:20-24). Yes, then there shall be the fulfillment of the word of the Lord concerning the judgment of God upon the “abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.” It will be truly Ichabod, the glory is de parted, for earthly Jerusalem. Not one stone remained upon another!
And it is exactly at this time that the covenant is made strong in the blood of Christ, Who was delivered for our offenses and Who was raised for our justification. It is the covenant for Abraham and for all his spiritual seed, whether Jew or Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, male or female. Then it will be shown beyond all contradiction that as many as are of Christ are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise (Rom. 4:9-24; Gal. 3:23-29). Truly, in this making strong of the covenant, we see that the word of God has not fallen out, but that every jot and tittle of the law is fulfilled.
Although we have pointed out that the Covenant, spoken of in the text, is not merely some human contract, agreement, or pact between Israel and some earthly potentate, but that it refers to the new Covenant in Christ’s blood, yet there is more to say at this point.
Dispensational teaching really does not teach the covenant of the promise of God at all. Scofield speaks of “seven dispensations” as we have noticed earlier in depth, and, therefore, must also teach various “covenants.” Without question the deepest reason for dispensational teaching is that it explicitly denies the unity of the Holy Catholic Church. Dispensationalism is really humanistic-Arminianism which denies the Scriptural teaching of the eternal election of grace. It is for this reason that the one covenant of God, which God calls “my covenant,” is replaced in their exposition of Daniel 9:27 with a mere “covenant” made by some worldly ruler. The grand unity of the covenant in its promissory form, and as fulfilled in the blood of the New Testament, cannotcome to the rightful interpretation. Here one seeks in vain for the “pattern of sound doctrine” to which we have been delivered (Rom. 6:17). The gospel of grace in every page of Moses, the Psalms, and all the Prophets cannot be seen by dispensationalists! There is no grace in the dispensation of law! The clarion note of the Gospel in Genesis 12:1-3 is muffled!
The one point which must still be noticed in the text is that the covenant is made strong “for many“!
Furthermore, it ought to be obvious to every serious Bible believer, that only if the covenant blessings have been promised to “the many” can it be made strong for many. It is made strong for the many for whom it was purposed and planned. No Arminian has a strong covenant, nor does he have a strong covenant for many. He has not a strong covenant for anyone! He has no Gospel of glad tidings at all. However, Gabriel speaks of the covenant as being made strong in “one week.” And that one “seven” is the fulfillment at Calvary. Here we breathe the pure air of the Gospel which speaks loud and clear: “. . . but now once at the end (consummation) of the ages hath he (Messiah) been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26).
The great and dreadful God is the covenant God, Who keepeth covenant faithfulness and lovingkindness with those who fear Him (Dan. 9:4). God is faithful to His covenant. This covenant is strong exactly because it is God’s unilaterally made covenant. Its fulfillment depends solely upon God’s faithfulness. It is all of grace! And it is promised to the multitude of the elect Seed, the children of Abraham, forever. This covenant in the hearts of the many, many children of Abraham spells eternal life. Now God did not need to make His own covenant promise strong; however, He did need to make it strong for many. Grace and truth became through Jesus Christ. And from His fullness have we all received, grace for grace. The “many” children of Abraham all drank from the wells of salvation which were opened in Zion.
God made it strong to us and fulfilled His oath to Abraham (Heb. 6:16, 17; Acts 2:38-40)!
This covenant made strong for man is repeatedly designated by Daniel as the holy covenant. (See Daniel 11:28, 30, 32.) The covenant is called holy because it is the relationship of most intimate fellowship and communion between God and His justified and sanctified people.
Here we hear the clarion sound: “Be ye holy for I am holy” (Lev. 19:2; Lev. 11:44; Lev. 20:7). When God’s covenant is made strong it means that God conforms His people to His image, yea, makes them partakers of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4). Paul wrote in Romans 5:20, 21, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound exceedingly, so that as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign in righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Truly, this was good news for Daniel; it was water for a thirsty soul who would not forget Jerusalem above his chief joy in far off Babylon. It was necessary that the truth of God’s covenant be set forth clearly, and in a comforting way, as an answer, the perfect answer, to Daniel’s mighty pleadings before the face of the great and dreadful God!
Furthermore, the mouth of the enemy and the avenger must be stopped. The wicked inside and outside of the Old Testament Theocracy and Commonwealth of Israel must no longer tauntingly say to the lowly of heart in Israel, “Where is thy God? Where is that Jehovah in Whom ye trusted? Where is He Who is the hope of Israel, the true Israel of God?” Yes, as with a sword in Israel’s bones the enemies reproached Israel, while they were continually saying, “Where is thy temple with its holy altars? Where is the place of your rest?” And was there not a cause: the sin of God’s people?
What depths of pathos and lamentation there is recorded for us in Jeremiah 50:7, where we read, “All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said: We offend not, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of Israel”! What hellish words these are! The Hebrew term for adversary is “tsar,” which means straitener. This adversary drives God’s people in deepest straits and distress and then mocks them in their plight. Their sin in afflicting Israel cries to heaven as did the blood of Abel, and still they presume to have immunity to God’s just judgment because Israel has sinned. And they mock the God of heaven, the great and dreadful God, forgetting that Babylon and the nations are but as an ax in the hand of Him that hews therewith! (Is. 36:7, 10; Is. 10:15).
That God is the hope of Israel must be made manifest in a strong covenant unto many!
That great and dreadful God is the everlastingly faithful God to His promise to Abraham and to His spiritual elect people.
God never forsakes His people! Such is ever the strong and comforting thought in the Bible. That is theCor Ecclesia! (I Sam. 12:22). It might have seemed thus that God had cast them off, in the days of Samuel, when the ark of God was taken by the Philistines, when the very priests in the tabernacle were polluting the holy altar and sacrifices, and when the sons of the high priest Eli lay dead on the battlefield, and when Israel is under the heel of the mighty Philistines many, many years. But, even so, the word is, “Hitherto hath the LORD helped us”! And Israel is assured that their prayer for forgiveness is heard, “for the LORD (JEHOVAH) will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake, because it hath pleased the LORD to make you a people unto himself”!
Yes, it is the Father’s good pleasure that the Israel of God inherit the kingdom. Fear not, little flock! (Luke 12:32).
This is the keynote of Scripture!
It is the pattern of sound doctrine!
In the darkest hour of Israel’s history, when none other but Elijah pleads against Israel and not for Israel, and laments at the holy mount, “Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have digged down thine altars; and I am left alone and they seek my soul,” then comes the “answer of God”! It is the divine oracle, the “chrematismos“! It is the Answer to the seeming dilemma. It is God’s elective love in which He makes His covenant to stand in thousands of generations to those who love Him and keep His commandments. God never forsakes those whom He loves eternally in Christ Jesus, and who are engraved in the palms of His hand, and who are ever before Him!
Has God cast off His people?
Ever there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Grace is rooted in election. Wherefore we read in the Divine Oracle, “I have left to myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal”! Even so in the time of Daniel in Babylon there was the remnant according to election (Rom. 11:1-5).
Grace is grace and works is works! (Rom. 11:6).
Here is the principle which makes the covenant strong in the blood of Messiah. He is the appointed One, the One sent to make the covenant strong in the seventieth seven. In this strong covenant in Christ’s blood John jubilantly confesses, “Behold whatmanner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God, and (such) we are” (I John 3:1).
Yes, Jesus came to His own (things = temple, etc.) but His own did not receive Him. Israel, as Old Testament Theocracy, rejected Him. But as men are received, to them gave He the right (authority) to become children of God, even them who believe on His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:11-13).
Behold the manner of the strong covenant!