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A seal, then, is a divine institution of which it is the design to signify the blessings promised in the covenant

A seal, then, is a divine institution of which it is the design to signify the blessings promised in the covenant, and to give assurance of them to those by whom its terms have been fulfilled. The very name of this symbolic (yet real) tree at once intimated its design: it was “the tree of life.” Not, as some have erroneously supposed, that its fruit had the virtue of communicating physical immortality—as though anything material could do that. Such a gross and carnal conception is much more closely akin to the Jewish and Mohammedan fables, than to a sober interpretation of spiritual things. No, just as its companion (yet contrast) was to Adam “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” —of “good” while he preserved his integrity and of “evil” as soon as he disobeyed his maker—so this other tree was both the symbol and pledge of that spiritual life which was inseparably connected with his obedience.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

Genesis 2:17 pronounced a curse upon disobedience and by necessary implication it announced a blessing upon obedience

Now as we have shown in previous chapters, the language of Genesis 2:17 not only pronounced a curse upon the disobedient partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but by necessary implication it announced a blessing upon the obedient non-eating thereof. The curse was death, with all that that involved and entailed; the blessing was a continuance and confirmation in all the felicity which man in his pristine innocence enjoyed. In His infinite condescension the Lord God was pleased to confirm or seal the terms of His covenant with Adam—contained in Genesis 2:17—by a symbolic and visible emblem ratifying the same; as He did to Noah by the rainbow, and to Abraham by circumcision. With Adam, this confirmatory symbol consisted of “the tree of life” in the midst of the garden.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

God confirms His promises by some sacred symbol

It hath pleased the blessed and almighty God, in every economy of His covenants, to confirm, by some sacred symbols, the certainty of His promises and at the same time to remind man in covenant with Him of his duty” (H. Witsius). Examples of that fact or illustrations of this principle may be seen in the rainbow by which God ratified the covenant into which He entered with Noah (Gen. 9:12, 13), and circumcision which was the outward sign of confirmation of the covenant entered into with Abraham (Gen. 17:9, 11). From these cases, then, we may perceive the propriety of the definition given by A. A. Hodge: “A seal of a covenant is an outward visible sign, appointed by God as a pledge of His faithfulness, and as an earnest of the blessings promised in the covenant.” In other words, the seal of the covenant is an external symbol, ratifying the validity of its terms, as the signatures of two witnesses seal a man’s will.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

This verse as referring to two real and literal trees…..which were extraordinary ones, peculiar to themselves

December 29, 2020 Leave a comment

And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:9).

First of all, let it be said emphatically that we regard this verse as referring to two real and literal trees: the very fact that we are told they were “pleasant to the sight” obliges us to regard them as tangible and visible entities.

Second, In the second place, it is equally obvious from what is said of them that those two trees were extraordinary ones, peculiar to themselves. They were placed “in the midst of the garden”; and from what is recorded in connection with them in Genesis 3, it is clear that they differed radically from all the other trees in Eden. In the third place, we cannot escape the conclusion that those literal trees were vested with a symbolical significance, being designed by God to give instructions to Adam, in the same way as others of His positive institutions now do unto us.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

We will now consider the seal which the Lord God made upon the covenant

December 22, 2020 Leave a comment

We will now consider the seal which the Lord God made upon the covenant into which He entered with the federal head of our race. This is admittedly the most difficult part of our subject, and for that reason, the least understood in most circles today. So widespread is the spiritual ignorance which now prevails that, in many quarters, to speak of “the seal” of a covenant is to employ an unintelligible term. And yet the seal is an intrinsic part and an essential feature in the various covenants which God made. Hence, our treatment of the Adamic covenant would be quite inadequate and incomplete did we fail to give attention to one of the objects which is given a central place in the brief Genesis record. Mysterious as that object appears, light is cast on it by other passages. Oh, that the Holy Spirit may be pleased to guide us into the truth thereon!

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

In order to follow out the logical sequence, we should, properly, examine next the “seal” of the covenant

December 15, 2020 Leave a comment

In order to follow out the logical sequence, we should, properly, examine next the “seal” of the covenant; that is, the formal symbol and stamp of its ratification; but we will postpone our consideration of that until our next chapter, which will conclude what we have to say upon the Adamic covenant. Instead, we will pass on to Adams consent unto the compact which the Lord God set before him. This may be inferred, first of all, from the very law of his nature: having been made in the image and likeness of God, there was nothing in him contrary to His holy will, nothing to oppose His righteous requirements: so that he must have readily attended.

Adam, being holy, would not refuse to enter into a righteous engagement with his Maker: and being intelligent, would not decline an improvement in his condition” (W. Sledd): an “improvement” which, upon his fulfillment of the terms of the covenant, would have issued in being made immutably holy and happy, so that he would then have had spiritual life as indefectible, passing beyond all point of apostasy and misery. The only other possible alternative to Adam’s freely consenting to be a party to the covenant would be his refusal, which is unthinkable in a pure and sinless being. Eve’s words to the serpent in Genesis 3:2, 3 make it plain that Adam had given his word not to disobey his maker. We quote from another who has ably handled this point:

The voluntary assent of the parties, which is in every covenant: one party must make the proposition: God proposed the terms as an expression of His will, which is an assent or agreement. God’s commanding man not to eat, is His consent. As to man, it has been already observed, he could not without unreasonable opposition to his Creator’s will, refuse any terms which the wisdom and benevolence of God would allow Him to proffer. Hence we should conclude, Adam must most cheerfully accede to the terms. But this the more readily, when their nature is inspected—when he should see in them every thing adapted for his advantage, and nothing to his disadvantage.

The same conclusion we deduce from an inspection of the Scripture history. For

1. there is not a hint at any thing like a refusal on the part of Adam, before the act of violation. The whole history is perfectly consistent with the supposition that he did cheerfully agree.

2. It is evident that Eve thought the command most reasonable and proper. She so expressed herself to the serpent, giving God’s commandment as a reason of her abstinence. This information she must have derived from her husband, for she was not created at the time the covenant was given to Adam. We hence infer Adam’s consent.

3. Adam was, after his sin, abundantly disposed to excuse himself: he cast the blame upon the woman, and indirectly upon God, for giving her to him. Now most assuredly, if Adam could in truth have said, I never consented to abstain—I never agreed to the terms proposed—I have broken no pledge—he would have presented this apology or just answer to God; but according to Scripture he offered no such apology. Can any reasonable man want further evidence of his consent? Even this may be had, if he will.

4. Look at the consequences. The penal evils did result: sorrow and death did ensue; and hence, because God is righteous, we infer the legal relations. The judge of all the earth would not punish where there is no crime” (Geo. Junkin, 1839).

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

Let us now pause for a moment and review the ground already covered

Let us now pause for a moment and review the ground already covered. First, we have seen the favorable and happy state in which Adam was originally created. Second, we have contemplated the threefold law under which he was placed. Third, we have observed that he stood in Eden as the federal head and legal representative of all his posterity. Fourth, we have pointed out that all the constituent elements of a formal covenant are clearly observable in the Genesis record: there were the contracting parties—the Lord God and Adam; there was the stipulation enjoined—obedience; there was the penalty attached—death upon disobedience; there was the necessarily implied promise of reward—an immutable establishment in holiness and an inalienable title to the earthly paradise.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

That dread threat was couched in general terms

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shah surely die,” or, as the margin renders it, “dying thou shah die.” That dread threat was couched in general terms. It was not said, “thou shah die physically,” nor “thou shalt die spiritually,” but simply “thou shalt surely die.” The absence of any modifying adverb shows that the term death is here taken in its widest scope, and is to be defined according to whatever Scripture elsewhere signifies by that term. It is the very height of presumption for us to limit what God has not limited. Far be it from us to blunt the sharp point of the divine threatening. The “dying thou shalt die” — which expresses more accurately and forcibly the original Hebrew—shows the words are to be taken in their full emphasis.

First, corporeal death, the germs of which are in our bodies from the beginning of their existence, so that from the moment we draw our first breath, we begin to die. And how can it be otherwise, seeing that we are “shapen in iniquity” and “conceived in sin” (Ps. 51:5)! From birth our physical body is indisposed, and entirely unfitted for the soul to reside in eternally; so that there must yet be a separation from it. By that separation the good things of the body, the “pleasures of sin” on which the soul so much dotes, are at once snatched away; so that it becomes equally true of each one, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb [the earth] and naked shall I return thither” (Job 1:21). God intimated this to Adam when He said, “Till thou return unto the ground: for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19).

Second, “by death is here understood all that lasting and hard labor, that great sorrow, all the tedious miseries of this life, by which life ceases to be life, and which are the sad harbingers of certain death. To these things man is condemned: see Gen. 3:16-19—the whole of that sentence is founded on the antecedent threatening of Gen. 2:17. Such miseries Pharaoh called by the name ‘death’ (Ex. 10:17). David called his pain and anguish ‘the bands (sorrows) of death’ (Ps. 116:3): by those ‘bands’ death binds and fastens man that he may thrust them into and confine them in his dungeon. As ‘life’ is not barely to live, but to be happy; so, ‘death’ is not to depart this life in a moment, but rather to languish in a long expectation, dread and foresight, of certain death, without knowing the time which God has foreordained” (H. Witsius).

Third, “death” in Scripture also signifies spiritual death, or the separation of the soul from God. This is what the apostle called “being alienated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18), which “life of God” illuminates, sanctifies, and exhilarates the souls of the regenerate. The true life of the soul consists of wisdom, pure love, and the rejoicing of a good conscience. The spiritual death of the soul consists in folly, evil lustings, and the rackings of an evil conscience. Therefore when speaking of those who were “alienated from the life of God,” the apostle at once added, “Through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness.” Thus, the unregenerate are totally incapacitated for communion with the holy and living God.

But I would more fully explain the nature of this (spiritual) death. Both living and dead bodies have motion. But a living body moves by vegetation, while it is nourished, has the use of its senses, is delighted, and acts with pleasure. Whereas, the dead body moves by putrefaction to a state of dissolution, and to the production of loathsome animals. And so in the soul, spiritually alive, there is motion, while it is fed, repasted, and fattened with Divine delights, while it takes pleasure in God and true wisdom; while, by the strength of its love, it is carried to and fixed on that which can sustain the soul and give it a sweet repose. But a dead soul has no feeling; that is, it neither understands truth, nor loves righteousness, but wallows and is spent in the sink of concupiscence, and brings forth the worms of impure thoughts, seasonings and affections” (H. Witsius).

Fourth, eternal death is also included in Genesis 2:17. The preludes of this are the terrors of an evil conscience, the soul deprived of all divine consolation, and often an anguished sense of God’s wrath, under which it is miserably pressed down. At physical dissolution the soul of the sinner is sent into a place of torments (Luke 16:23-25). At the end of the world, the bodies of the wicked are raised and their souls are united thereto, and after appearing before the great white throne they will be cast into the lake of fire, there to suffer for ever and ever the “due reward of their iniquities.” The wages of sin is death, and that the word death there involves and includes eternal death is unmistakably plain from the fact that it is placed in direct antithesis with “eternal life”: Romans 6:23. The same appears again in Romans 5:21, which verse is the summing up of verses 12-20.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

It is to be duly noted what God here threatened was the direct consequence and immediate punishment of sin

November 24, 2020 2 comments

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shah surely die” (Gen. 2:17). It is to be duly noted what God here threatened was the direct consequence and immediate punishment of sin, to be inflicted only upon the rebellious and disobedient. That death which now seizes fallen man is no mere natural calamity, but a penal infliction. It is not a “debt” which he owes to “nature,” but a judicial sentence which is passed upon him by the divine judge. Death has come in because our first parent, our federal head and representative, took of the forbidden fruit, and for no other reason. It was altogether meet to God’s authority and holy will that there should be an unmistakable connection between sin and its punishment, so that it is impossible for any sinner to escape the wages of sin, unless another should be paid them in his stead—of which the covenant of works contained no hint.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

We come now to consider the penal sanction of the covenant

November 17, 2020 Leave a comment

We come now to consider the penal sanction of the covenant. This is contained in the words “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shah surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Here was made known the terrible penalty which would most certainly follow upon Adam’s disobedience, his violation of the covenant. All the blessings of the covenant would instantly cease. Transgression of God’s righteous law would not only forfeit all blessings, but would convert them into so many fountains of wretchedness and woe. The covenant of works provided no mediator, nor any other method of restoration to the purity and bliss which was lost. There was no place given for repentance. All was irrevocably lost. Between the blessing of obedience and the curse of disobedience there was no middle ground. So far as the terms of the covenant of works was concerned, its inexorable sentence was: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant