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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

These are men in the flesh, Jews and Gentiles, whose lives and fortunes will be at the disposal of the Royal Family of God.

The members of this social circle are not known now by the world, which has set its affections upon those who mislead it, teaching it to look for a visionary elysium beyond the skies!

But such leaders as these have no light in them, for they do not speak according to the law and the testimony.

The word of God converts their wisdom into folly, declaring in the teeth of their traditions that "he that putteth his trust in God shall possess the land, and shall inherit his holy mountain"; while Israel in the flesh "shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever as the branch of the Lord's planting, the work of his hands, that He may be glorified.

A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.

I, saith the Lord, will hasten it in its time".

THE TOKEN OF THE COVENANT.

It was fourteen years after the confirmation of the covenant, and when Abram had attained the age of ninety-nine, that the Lord appeared to him to repeat His promises, and to appoint the token of the covenant.

On this occasion, God talked with him, and changed his name from Abram to Abraham, as an everlasting memorial that He had made him heir of the world, by constituting him a father of a great multitude.

"Behold," said God, "my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I constituted thee".

And besides this constitutional fatherhood, the Lord assured him that though so old, he should be prolific of multitudes which should descend from his own loins.

"I will make thee," said he, "exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee; and kings shall come out of thee".

The Lord then announced, that the covenant He had confirmed should be established between Him and Abraham, and his fleshly descendants in their generations for an everlasting covenant; and that He would be a God to him and to them.

He also again declared His oft-repeated promise, saying, "I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession: and I will be their God.

In the passage from which this is taken, God says, "I will make my covenant between me and thee"; and afterwards, "Behold, my covenant is with thee".

The "will make" refers to a covenant subsequent to that confirmed fourteen years before.

That to be made was the token of that which was already made; and "the seal of the righteousness of the faith which Abraham had when it was counted to him for righteousness".

"This," said God, "is my covenant which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee: every man-child among you shall be circumcised; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you, Abraham".

The appointing of this token in their flesh was the establishment of the covenant with Abraham's seed in the time of Isaac and Jacob in their generations.

When, therefore, Israelites behold the mark in their flesh it reminds them that they are "the children of the covenant which God made with their fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy Seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed"; that the land of Canaan, all of it, is promised to them for an everlasting possession; but that an everlasting possession in it can only be attained by belief of the thing promised in the covenant being counted to them for righteousness in the way of God's appointment.

They know, or rather ought to know, that the sign of circumcision and the Mosaic law can give them no title to the everlasting occupancy of Canaan, either as individuals, or as a nation.

It is circumcision of the heart, of which circumcision of the flesh is but the sign of the circumcised heart of Abraham, that confers a title to the land and all its attributes.