One of the most important doctrines of the Church of God is one, which has to do with the covenants God has made with His people down through the ages. God has made covenants (agreements) with different people at different times as He chose to deal with them.
He made a covenant with Adam, which covenant Adam failed to keep. (While the Bible does not specifically refer to God’s Words in Gen. 2:16-17 as a covenant, God did make a binding commitment, here, with Adam, that if the man failed in this requirement God placed upon him, the penalty for disobedience was death.) Adam, rather, chose to walk in Satan’s ways instead of God’s righteous Way and, thus, all of mankind has been made subject to death.
God made a covenant with Noah, and the sign of that covenant is still with us, today, available for all to see, as a witness of the agreement God made with Noah and of Noah’s obedience to God. (Gen. 8:16, 9:8-17)
We are all cognizant of the covenants God made with Abraham and his seed and of Abraham’s obedience and the fact that the world today is still being blessed because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were faithful to God in the keeping of these covenants. Of course, there is the special Sabbath covenant which we find in Exodus 31:12-18, and the covenant God made with His servant, David. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
Abraham’s descendants, the Children of Israel, entered into numerous covenants with God, but like Adam, they failed to keep their part in these agreements. In these covenants, Israel agreed to be obedient to God’s Sabbath, to His Laws, and to His Way of life. God, in turn, promised to Israel, material and national blessings and a superior position in the earth, if they would be faithful to these agreements. (The gift of God’s Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life were not made a part of these agreements with Israel.) Israel failed in keeping their part in these agreements.
Jesus Christ came to this earth to establish a special covenant between God and those He would call during this lifetime. God would give them His Spirit as a help, for them to be able to fulfill their part of the agreement, which He would be making with them. Additionally, He would allow Jesus Christ to offer Himself as a living sacrifice such that a means for forgiveness of sin was available for them, upon repentance, when they failed in their part of the agreement.
The question for God’s chosen people, today, is … how are we doing in our resolve to keep the covenant we made with Him at the time of our baptism?
We saw how God blessed His Church during that period of Church history we have all come to know as the Philadelphia era of God’s Church (Revelation 3:7-13). But, now, we have seen the end of that era and the onset of a new era … Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). We have seen the beginning of the apostasy, as it has encompassed God’s people. And we have seen the scattering of the sheep and the offense that has been caused by this momentous event.
Today, the Church is much smaller than during the latter years of the Philadelphia era! How should God’s people be relating, today, in light of all the events, which have taken place?
Our admonition is, first, to hold fast to those things, which we first learned. (2 Timothy 1:13-14; Revelation 3:11). We must persevere. If this requires further separation, God will see that it happens. Second, our admonition is to watch, always, and to pray that we be accounted worthy, when Christ comes to establish His Father’s Kingdom. (Matthew 24:42-47). Third, our admonition is to endure. (Matthew 24:13). We must not waver, brethren, in our dealings with the Almighty. (James 1:6-8).
God, the Father has allowed the Church to be scattered at this time (Daniel 12:7), yet, it is He Who will gather them at the appropriate time. (John 11:51-52).
But we, brethren, must remain faithful to God’s Truth, never wavering, never losing faith that our elder brother will keep His promise as quoted by Paul in Hebrews 13:5, where He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” If we remain faithful to Jesus Christ and to the Father, they will certainly remain faithful to us.
In Malachi 3:16, we read that “…those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, (if we fear Him, we will obey Him), And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.’ Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.”
Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong admonished us to “prove all things.” He taught us to believe him only if what he taught was provable by scripture. We must not change from that approach. We must not follow any man, except as he follows Christ. Only then can we demonstrate true loyalty to the Almighty. He tells us in His Word, “For I am the LORD, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6 – KJV).