While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a
blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said,
“Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and
given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of
you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured
out for many for forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)
The Covenant Head of the Elect
There are various relations which Christ sustains in His covenant.
One of those relations is the Head of all the elect of God, that
ever have been, are, or will be (Ephesians 1:22,23, 5:23;
Colossians 1:18). As Head, He is the source of life and growth
for the body (Colossians 2:19). He is an Head as a a king
is head of his subjects. He is Head as the husband is the head of
the wife, and a father the head of his children, and a master the
head of his servants and of his whole family. Christ was given to
be the covenant of the people, so to be an Head of them in that
covenant. This covenant plan existed before the world began. That
is, the ones to receive spiritual blessings were the ones in Him,
in His body (2Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 1:3,4). He is the Head
who is ours in heaven (Ephesians 2:5,6; Colossians 3:1).
God has given him to be Head over all things to the church
The Mediator of the Covenant
Another relation which Christ bears in the covenant, is that of
Mediator. In the letter to the Hebrews is he called the Mediator
of the new, better covenant (Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). The
apostle Paul asserts, that there is “one Mediator between God and
men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5).
Christ is a mediator of reconciliation—interposing between two
parties in order to bring them together. Men are through sin at as
great distance as earth and heaven. Reconciliation supposes a
former state of friendship, a breach of that friendship, and then
a renewal of it. Christ undertook in covenant to be the mediator
of reconciliation for them (Colossians 1:21).
The principal fitness of Christ for as Mediator, at least for the
execution of it, lies in the union of the human and divine, in His
one Person—Immanuel, God with us, and God manifest in the flesh.
It was appropriate that our Mediator should be flesh, so he might
be capable of suffering death. Peace was to be made by blood, and
reconciliation by the sufferings of death, and therefore a nature
must be assumed capable of shedding blood, and of suffering death.
In a word, it was highly becoming, that the Captain of our
salvation should be made perfect through suffering (Hebrews
2:10-15; 5:9; 8:3).
Christ being Son of God, the Mediator, necessarily leads men to
put their trust and confidence in Him for peace, pardon, and
salvation. If he was only a man, and not God, this would entail a
curse: “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh
his strength” (Jeremiah 17:5); it is necessary that the
Mediator should be God—the proper object of trust, worship, honor,
He is the one and only Mediator—there is no other. He is the
Mediator both for Jews and Gentiles because God is a covenant God,
not to the Jews only, but to the Gentiles also. Both have access
to God through the one Mediator, Christ, (Romans 3:29-30; 1John
2:2; Ephesians 2:14-18). Christ is Mediator both for saints of
old and saints of today (Hebrews 9:15).
The Guarantee of the Covenant
Christ is also the surety of the covenant. The Greek word
translated “guarantee” is used once in the whole of Scripture,
(Hebrews 7:22) and speaks of Christ—“Jesus has become the
guarantee of a better covenant.” A guarantor draws near to one
on the behalf of another, and lays himself under obligation to him
for that other. When one becomes a guarantee, he either puts
something into the hand of another for security, or rather puts
his hand into the hand of another.
He is not the guarantee for his Father to His people—God, that
cannot lie is in no danger of breaking His word and not fulfilling
His promise (Hebrews 6:18). Too, He is not a mere accessory
to the obligation of His people for payment of their debts—He and
they are not engaged in one joint bond for payment—He has taken
the whole debt. He knew full well that they were not able to pay,
and never would be.
Christ as a guarantee will bring all of His safe to glory. This is
illustrated by Judah’s suretyship for Benjamin: “I myself will
be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do
not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear
the blame before you forever” (Genesis 43:9). Christ
became the guarantee to the Father for those who do the will of
The Testator of the Covenant
In wills and testaments, what a man disposes of, is his own; no
man has a power to dispose of what is another’s and not his own.
All the blessings of goodness are all the Lord’s own and He has a
sovereign right to dispose of them as He pleases. This will is
called an everlasting covenant because it is from everlasting. The
bequests in it were made before the world began (2Timothy 1:9).
It is, too, called a new testament because it is now published and
declared in Christ.
It is a will or testament that is unalterable—even a man’s
covenant is not supposed to be altered (Galatians 3:15).
This covenant is founded upon the immutability of God so that the
heirs of promise may have strong consolation, and be fully
assured. Testaments are generally sealed as well as signed. The
blood of Christ is a seal of this testament, by which it is
ratified and confirmed and therefore called the blood of the
covenant and the blood of the new testament (Zechariah 9:11;
Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 13:20).
Like all wills and testaments, this one is registered. It is
registered in God’s own sacred writings. It is probate, that is,
proved and witnessed. It has been witnessed and copied under
divine direction through the prophets, apostles, and other writers
of the words of God. The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ is
testator of the covenant (see again Hebrews 9:15-17).
Everything given was in respect to the death of Christ. Everything
promised was on condition of Christ’s sacrifice—pouring out His
soul unto death (Isaiah 53:10-12). Redemption of
transgressions, that were under both old and new covenants, was by
means of death—without shedding of blood there is no remission— it
is the death of Christ that secures from condemnation as well as
by it reconciliation is made.
The death of Christ is necessary to put this will in force, to
give strength unto it, that it may be executed according to the
design of the maker. “For where a covenant is, there must of
necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is
valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the
one who made it lives” (Hebrews 9:16-17). It is not the
death of just anyone, but only of the testator himself, that gives
validity to his will and renders it executable. It is only the
death of Christ that gives force and strength unto, or ratifies
and confirms His covenant—not the death of animal sacrifices—they
were only types of Christ in his bloodshed and death (Hebrews
9:19-22). The new and better covenant is only, really, truly,
and properly ratified and confirmed by the death of Christ. He
became a partaker of flesh and blood, of human nature, that he
might die and ratify His testament and will.
We can be of those who inherit the eternal blessings of this
covenant. We must obey His will, meet His stipulations, so that we
might “inherit the promises” (Hebrews 9:15, 6:9-12).