Christ a Testator

“For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the Testator,” Hebrews 9:16.

Though this term is thought by some not to be a metaphor, (Christ being really a Testator) yet it may not be unprofitable to run the parallel with human Testators. A Testament is the sentence and declaration of our just will, of what we would have done after death, and is so called, because it is a Testimony of our mind, which is not in force (because revocable) till the Testator dies. Thus the New Testament, or law of the Gospel, is ratified and confirmed by the death of Christ. The parallel is as follows.

TESTATOR PARALLEL
A Testator signifies a disposer, one that makes a will and Testament, who hath goods to bestow, and relations or friends to give them to. Christ, our spiritual Testator, hath store of blessings and good things, Colossians 2:3. In his hand are all the riches of grace and glory; and at the end He will bestow them on His spiritual relations: His children, who are called His friends, “Ye are my friends,” John 15:14.
A Testator is one that is under a natural tie or obligation, and full of thoughts, cares, and good will to his friends, and hence provides for them when he is gone. Jesus Christ, by taking His people into covenant-relation and union, hath laid Himself under strong bonds and obligations to them, and from hence takes care of them, and is filled with thoughts of kindness to them, and provides for their future good in His absence.
A Testator imports a person dying, or under the apprehension of approaching death, and from hence makes a Testament, and bequeaths legacies. Jesus Christ, knowing His hour was coming, that He must go out of the world to the Father, He being appointed to death, made His last will and Testament, and left legacies to all His saints, and faithful followers, John 13:1.
A Testator hath full power to dispose of whatsoever he possesseth, or hath a right unto, and according to his sole will and pleasure bequeaths unto others. Jesus Christ the Testator of the new Covenant, hath not only full power and authority to convey all gospel-blessings; but all grace here, and glory hereafter, is solely disposed of at His will and pleasure, in which way and to whom He pleases. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,” John 1:12. As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am,” John 17:2, 24. “My peace I give unto you,” John 14:27.
A Testator, sets down the person in his will, to whom he doth bequeath or give legacies. Jesus Christ, as Testator, hath set down in His Testament, who the persons are to whom He hath bequeathed the blessings of the covenant, both grace and glory, all that are His sheep, all that the Father hath given Him, all that are regenerated, who truly repent and believe in Him, and keep His word, John 10:28, 3:36, 14:27 and Hebrews 5:9.
A Testator, to make his last will and Testament firm and authentic, calls others to witness it. Jesus Christ, to establish and make firm His last will, called sufficient Testimony to witness it; as first, the Father; secondly, His miracles; thirdly, John the Baptist; fourthly, the scriptures; and then fifthly, His apostles: “And we are witnesses of all things which he did; ” Acts 10:39 and John 5:32, 36-37.
A Testator, finally to complete, perfect, and confirm his last will, doth sign and seal it himself; which (according to the laws and customs, especially of the eastern nations, as divers have observed) is done by blood; moreover, the epistle to the Hebrews shows us, that the first Testament was dedicated by blood, hence called the blood of the Testament. Jesus Christ ratified and confirmed His last will and Testament with His own blood: “And he shall confirm the covenant,” Daniel 9:27. “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the Testator,” Hebrews 9:16. “This cup is the new testament in my blood,” 1 Corinthians 11:25. By Christ’s death there is a confirmation of the truth and reality of the covenant, of the validity and authority of it, and lastly, of its efficacy and availableness to us, Hebrews 9:17, “For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
A Testator, by making his last will and Testament, usually disannuls any will made before. Jesus Christ disannulled the law of the old covenant, by His establishing the New. “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof,” Hebrews 7:18. “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second,” Hebrews 10:9.
A Testator makes his last will and Testament unalterable by any other, or by himself; as others must not, so he will not. Christ hath made His last will and Testament so as never to be altered by Himself. “I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come,” Revelation 2:24-25. “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips,” Psalms 89:34.
A Testator takes care to have his will made known and published after his death, that the legatees may know what legacies are left and bequeathed to them. Christ ordained and commanded His disciples to publish His mind and will to the children of men. Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel,” that is, to make know the Testament. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned,” Mark 16:16.
A Testator oftentimes limits the legacies bequeathed to some of the legatees, upon conditions by them to be performed. Christ hath appointed conditions to be performed by some men, before they can actually possess the grace and blessing promised; to attend upon hearing the word, to pray, believe, and repent. “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” Genesis 4:7.   “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD,” Hosea 6:3. “Seek, and ye shall find,” Luke 11:9. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” Acts 16:31.
The will of a Testator gives a sure and firm title to those that he wishes well to, and bestows riches on; they hereby are secured. For what can be a more full and undeniable right, than that which is left or bequeathed to a man, by the last will and Testament of his friend? Christ’s last will and Testament is the godly man’s title. Whoever he be, that Christ hath bequeathed such and such a blessing or promise to, he is sure enough of it, from the nature of the covenant, and from the provision that is made by Christ the Testator, for the fulfilling and accomplishing thereof.
A Testator ordains or assigns executors in trust, to see that his will be punctually observed and fulfilled. Christ hath resigned this great trust of fulfilling of His will into the hands of the Father, John 10:29, and the Holy Ghost, who are not only faithful executors of this his Testament, but able to supply the wants of every one, and helps all those to whom the covenant doth belong. “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me,” John 17:11. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever,” John 14:16.
A Testator being dead, no man can attempt to abrogate or alter any part or thing that is in his last will; though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or added thereunto, Galatians 3:15. Christ’s will and Testament being confirmed and ratified by His blood, as He will not alter it Himself, much less may any man or angel presume to do it. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed,” Galatians 1:8. “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book,” Revelation 22:18.
A Testator dies, and thereby opens a way for his legatees to come into the possession of the inheritance that is left them. Christ by dying opened a way, and gave legacies to sinners, to have His Testament executed; if the Testator had not died, there had been no room nor access to them that are called, to receive the eternal inheritance, Hebrews 9:15.
TESTATOR DISPARITY
The death of a Testator amongst men, makes only his own will valid, cannot make and confirm the will of another. Christ did not only give force and value to His own will, but to the will of the Father also.
A Testator amongst men, cannot be a witness to the will he ratifies and establishes. Christ is not only a Testator but a witness of the same Testament, as it is the Father’s. He is given of God as the great evidence of covenant-love, and of all the choice favours and good will to sinners: “For God so loved the world,” John 3:16. And secondly, He is given as the great covenant-interest and relation betwixt God and sinners. He testifies that all that is contained in the covenant is true, and the absolute will and pleasure of God; ”And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true,” Revelation 22:6. Who is it that affirms and testifies this? “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,”  Revelation 1:5.
A Testator among men bequeaths or gives legacies comparatively but to a few. Christ gives legacies to thousands, and ten thousands; no godly man hath, nor ever shall have, any spiritual good thing, but what was bequeathed to him by Christ’s will and Testament.
A Testator among men cannot enjoy or possess that kingdom, estate, or inheritance himself, after he hath given it away to others, and settled them in possession. Christ, the spiritual Testator, though He hath given away all that He hath, and gives the possession to believers by His last will and Testament; yet is co-heir of the same kingdom and glory, and shall possess it together with them.
A Testator amongst men, commits his last will and Testament to men to be fulfilled. Christ, the spiritual Testator, surrogates His Spirit, in His absence, and after His death, to see His will executed in all points, and to give real and actual possession of all His covenant-blessings, unto them to whom they are given.
The best legacies, Testators among men bequeath, are but earthly and temporal things, The legacies Christ bequeaths are spiritual, things of a high and most sublime nature. As all things are given to Christ the Mediator, so all that He is or hath, He parts with freely to His faithful followers: the graces of the Spirit, adoption, pardon of sin, peace of conscience, precious promises. In a word, all things that appertain to the life that now is, and to that which is to come: “all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's,” 1 Corinthians 3:22-23.

INFERENCES

  1. This exceedingly show forth the grace and love of Christ to sinners, in that He should assume man’s nature, and become liable to death and mortality. What marvelous condescension is here, that He should act or do any thing in contemplation of death, and be a Testator, and yet could not see corruption, the grave could not keep Him; and yet refused not to submit unto death, and thereby through the Spirit He might convey a legal right and possession to us of eternal life?
  2. From hence we may also see, how firm and sure the covenant of grace is made to all the true seed, and faithful children of God.
  3. And let all the friends and legatees of Jesus Christ know, that their right and title to spiritual and eternal blessedness is of absolute grace, and mere pleasure of the Testator.
  4. And what cause have we to praise the name of God in Christ, who hath published and made known His last will and Testament unto the sons of men? We have the mind of Christ.
  5. And in that He hath left one to execute His will, and that it is put into the hands of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s absence, who is able to do it effectually. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me,” John 15:26.
  6. Moreover, let all such tremble, that adventure to alter, add to, or diminish from, anything that is left in Christ’s last will and Testament; the plagues of God, without repentance, are like to be their portion forever.
  7. Furthermore, from hence you may see what reason we have to examine what is preached for doctrine, or published by any man as the mind of Christ. For if it be not written or found in His last will and Testament, we ought utterly to reject it, though an angel from heaven should preach it. Whatever is affirmed to be an ordinance of Christ’s, if it be not, nor cannot be naturally inferred, without abuse or wrong to the text, let it be abhorred and contemned by us.
  8. This affords much comfort to the godly, whose names are written in this Testament, and in the Lamb’s book of life. You will there find exceeding great and glorious things bequeathed to you, and let it be your care to sue for them, according to the will and directions of the Testator.
  9. Also let them not forget their Friend, nor neglect to keep up His remembrance in the holy signs of his death and suffering for their sakes, which he hath enjoined them: “This do in remembrance of me,” 1 Corinthians 11:24.
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Benjamin Keech

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 2:10

When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;