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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Summer Edition 2004

Christ The Covenantor

    Studies in the history of Christian thought reveal that it was John Nelson Darby, along with Sir Robert Anderson and a few others, that first organized certain novel ideas on "prophecy" into a system that we now call dispensational premillennialism.

More specifically, it was Sir Robert Anderson, in his now classic book, The Coming Prince, who invented the idea of some future "Antichrist" figure, as the covenant-maker of the Daniel 9:27 text. Before that happened in the 1870's, this notion of one-world ruler, personal Antichrist, as the covenant-maker of Daniel 9:27, which is so universally popular today, was never heard of.

    In direct opposition to the later nineteenth century Darbyites, John Wesley, the father of Methodism, believed that Jesus the Messiah confirmed the gospel in Daniel 9:27. According to Wesley, Christ did this in the following six ways:

    "27. He shall confirm. Christ confirmed the new covenant: (1) By the testimony of angels, of John the Baptist, of the wise men, of the saints then living, of Moses and Elijah. (2) By his preaching. (3) By signs and wonders. (4) By his holy life. (5) By his resurrection and ascension. (6) By his death and blood-shedding" (John Wesley's Commentary on the Bible, p. 369).

Old Testament Development Of The Concept

   Throughout the Old Testament we find closely linked to the promised mission of the Messiah the task of promulgating a covenant to the people of Israel. Concerning this relationship the following truths may be noted:

1. It was prophesied of Messiah that he would administer a covenant to the nation (Isaiah 42:6; 49:8; 55:3-4; 59:20-21; 61:8; Malachi 2:6-7; 3:1).

2. The covenant the Messiah would administer would bring individuals deliverance from evil through personal spiritual and moral transformation (Psalm 72:4, 12-14; Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:37-71; Ezekiel 11:17-20; 36:24-28).

3. The institution of the messianic covenant would result in peace and social blessedness (Psalm 72:7; Isaiah 9:6-9; 32:1-2, 16-18; 54:10; 56:6-8; 66:12-14; Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15-18; Ezekiel 34:23-26; 36:29-30; 37:24-27).

4. It was prophesied that the new covenant promised to the Jews upon their return from the Babylonian Captivity would be forfeited if they rejected the Messiah (Isaiah 8:14-15; 42:24-25; 48:16-19; Daniel 9:26-27; Micah 5:1-7; Zechariah 11:7-17).

5. Finally, it was prophesied that a new people obedient to the Messiah would be called to inherit the promises of the new covenant (Deuteronomy 32:21, compare Romans 10:19; 11:11; Psalm 118:22, compare Matthew 21:42-44; Isaiah 2:1-5; 8:14-18; 11:10; 28:16ff.;42:1-6;48:6;49:22ff.; 52:10, 15; 54:3;.55:5; 56:6-8; 60:1-11; 61:6-11; 65:1-15; Hosea 1:10, compare Romans 9:27; Joel 2:28-32; Amos 9:11-12, compare Acts 15:13-18; Micah 5:7-8; Zechariah 6:15; 8:7, compare Matthew 8:11-12; Zechariah 8:20-23).

New Testament Fulfillment

    Turning to the New Testament, we find Jesus of Nazareth, the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-8, compare Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24; and Zechariah 11:7ff.), preaching the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14) and peace (Acts 10:36-37) to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). With the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth God had remembered his holy covenant (Luke 1:27ff), that is, the covenant of promise that was confirmed before of God in Christ 430 years before the giving of Moses' law (Galatians 3:17). Thus, as a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, Christ came to "confirm" the promises made unto the fathers (Romans 15:8), and is thereby plainly declared to be, not only the "messenger" (Malachi 3:1), but also the "mediator" of the new covenant (Galatians 3:17; I Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24; 13:20).

    Now, who can willfully ignore the obvious New Testament implication that Christ was a covenant-maker--the complete fulfiller of Old Testament messianic promises and hopes? Or who can honestly disprove the common-sense observation that the New Testament text of Romans 15:8 is a direct allusion by the apostle Paul to Christ as the divinely-intended covenant-maker of Daniel 9:27?

    What is the motivation, the rationale, the point, in doing so? What is the advantage of being so "perverse" as to deliberately avoid the obvious, because the obvious does not "fit" Sir Robert Anderson's privately preconceived theory?

    Think about it. Then, if you are still unconvinced, please read our books, and let us "break apart" Sir Robert Anderson for you. We can definitely help you "get over" any intellectual enamoration with the deceptive subtleties nestled in his theory that you may have.

And then, if, for whatever reason, you may still be to proud or to opinionated to accept what we say, then believe it on the basis of the best sources of authority elsewhere that you can find! We are certainly not the only person out there who defends the biblical teaching of Christ as covenant-maker of Daniel 9:27! A long tradition of the best scholarship in the history of the Christian church stands shoulder to shoulder with us in this matter.

It will not hurt my feeling if you come to accept the truth from someone else! It's not about me, anyway, it's about the truth, and the truth is purely academic, rational, and objective.

God in not afraid to have anyone raise these kinds of questions. He wants us to be honest seekers after truth. Honest seekers find right answers (Matt. 7:7-8).

Now just how honest, honestly, are you in your desire to really know the truth?

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