Good is Jehovah to the one hoping in him, to the soul that keeps seeking for him.
Good it is that one should wait, even silently, for the salvation of Jehovah.
―Lamentations 3:25,26


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 "But now [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent public service, so that he is also the mediator of a correspondingly better covenant, which has been legally established upon better promises." ―Hebrews 8:6

The Covenant of Life

Jehovah created man in his own image, with qualities that he himself possesses; and he deals with him accordingly. Instead of "lording it over” his people he dignifies them by entering into covenants with them, allowing them freedom of choice, and blesses them for carrying out their part of the covenant. (Genesis 1:26,27; Psalms 25:10,14; 1 Peter 5:3)

Before proceeding it might be good to look at what a covenant is. According to WEBSTER'S NEW UNIVERSAL UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY, a covenant is defined as:

1. a binding and solemn agreement by two or more persons, parties, etc. to do or keep from doing some specified thing; a compact.  2. in theology, the promises of God to man, usually carrying with them conditions to be fulfilled by man, as recorded in the Bible.

Also, INSIGHT ON THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. 1, states:

In effect, any promise made by Jehovah is a covenant; it is certain to be carried out; it can be relied on with confidence for its fulfillment. (Heb 6:18) A covenant is in force as long as the terms of it are operative and the obligation to perform rests on one or both parties. The results or the blessings brought about by the covenant may continue, even forever." ―it-1 p. 521 Covenant

Accordingly, the first covenant Jehovah made with man was with Adam in the Garden of Eden. It involved his blessings upon the man and his wife, providing them with meaningful and satisfying work, with the prospect of seeing eventually the whole earth filled with their offspring; but also included was the requirement of obedience to their Creator. (Gen. 1:28; Deuteronomy 30:20)

This covenant with Adam is often referred to as the "covenant of works," or "covenant of life." Concerning this covenant EASTON'S BIBLE DICTIONARY says:

COVENANT OF WORKS, the constitution under which Adam was placed at his creation. In this covenant, (1.) The contracting parties were (a) God the moral Governor, and (b) Adam, a free moral agent, and representative of all his natural posterity (Rom. 5:12-19). (2.) The promise was "life" (Matt. 19:16, 17; Gal. 3:12). (3.) The condition was perfect obedience to the law, the test in this case being abstaining from eating the fruit of the "tree of knowledge," etc. (4.) The penalty was death (Gen. 2:16, 17).

This covenant is also called . . . a covenant of life, because "life" was the promise attached to obedience; and a legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the law. 

Symbolizing the terms of the covenant were two unique trees that Jehovah had planted within the Garden of Eden. Growing in the middle of the garden was the “tree of life,” the eating of which symbolized the right to continued life for keeping the covenant. It was easily accessible due to its location, and since there was no prohibition in connection with it Adam was permitted to eat of its fruit. (Gen. 2:16,17; compare Rev. 2:7; 22:1,2) The other was the “tree of the knowledge of good and bad.”

One of life’s necessities is food and God had provided a great variety of it. (Gen. 1:29) But man’s life does not depend only on tasty and nourishing food. Adam was created also with the need for guidance from his Creator. He needed to take notice of God and listen to him just as surely as he needed to eat, for continued life is dependent on both provisions. (Matthew 4:4) For that reason Jehovah had planted also the “tree of the knowledge of good and bad” in the garden, and had given the command not to eat from it or even touch it. The tree belonged to God! It symbolized his right to tell man what he could or could not do. Eating from this tree would be rebelling against the owner's
clearly stated command. It would mean a rejection of dependence on the Creator, and also a breaking of the covenant of life. The penalty was death. (Genesis 2:9; 3:2,3)

The terms of this covenant that Jehovah made with Adam were much the same as what he told the nation of Israel over 2,500 years later, when he entered into a covenant with them.

"I have put life and death before you, the blessing and the malediction; and you must choose life in order that you may keep alive, you and your offspring, by loving Jehovah your God, by listening to his voice and by sticking to him; for he is your life and the length of your days." ―Deuteronomy 30:19,20.

Jehovah has always allowed man to make his own decisions in life. He will tell us what is best for us but leaves the choice of what we do up to ourselves. (Isaiah 48:17-19) Of course, with choice comes responsibility! By choosing to love Jehovah, by his obedience and keeping the covenant, Adam could hope to reap the blessings meant for him and his posterity. But disobedience would break his covenant and thus also his relationship with God, not just for himself but also all his yet unborn offspring, which of course includes all of us. (1 John 5:3)

The command to abstain from eating from the forbidden tree is often mistakenly referred to as a "test." True, any command or law can be viewed as a test, but that is not the purpose of making them. For example, we have traffic laws, not for the purpose of testing the obedience or loyalty of motorists but rather to ensure that traffic runs orderly and safely, although it becomes a test for many.

The purpose of God's command to Adam was not to test his obedience but rather to guide him, just as the laws of the covenant made with the nation of Israel was for the purpose of benefitting them. It was a simple law to which he would eventually add others as mankind grew in numbers. God did not create man with infinite wisdom, but wanted Adam to learn from his Creator. He was not designed "to direct his step" but rather to look to God for guidance. (Jeremiah 10:23) This was not a flaw in his design, but rather showed God’s great love for man, as he wanted to be a caring father to us, as members of his family. He did not create man and then abandon him, to fend for himself, as is sometimes the case with parents today. Jehovah would never be too busy to listen to his children and provide for their needs.

As long as Adam was alone he did not need much in the way of laws. But when Jehovah presented him with a wife, Eve, the situation changed. Who would set the standard on what was proper conduct? How should a husband treat his wife, or the wife her husband? Not just Adam and his wife needed guidance, but also all future generations. Why do we today have so many marriage counselors, failed marriages and broken homes if we can direct our own step? (Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:28,33; 1 Peter 3:7)

The question also included: who would decide between what is good or bad, right and wrong, for all the future generations that were to follow? There have to be laws, for without them there is chaos. Is that not why every nation, every state or province, every town, village and municipality has laws? But rebelling against those laws is common as the authority to make laws and enforce them is challenged universally.

Who would have the right and the wisdom to make laws for all mankind that would be respected and obeyed by all? Who would have the love to want the best for all God’s children, without prejudice? Also, who would have the right and power to enforce these laws? Jehovah, in his love and wisdom, and as our Creator, kept the right for himself to not only tell us what is good or bad, right and wrong, but also to enforce compliance. He knew that without a universal authority that everyone can accept, there would eventually be worldwide lawlessness. Thus the "tree of the knowledge of good and bad" symbolized the right for God to govern us. It was a simple law at a time when a lot of rules were not needed, and it was the basis for the covenant. Thus, to obey God would mean accepting his benevolent rule over us and keeping his covenant; whereas disobeying this simple command and eating from the tree would be rejecting his authority, rebelling against his right to decide for us what is good or bad, and thus break the covenant with all its consequences.

An Anointed Guardian Cherub

God did not create Adam and his wife with any defects. They were created perfect. (Deuteronomy 32:4) How is it, then, that a perfect person can sin, since sin means "missing the mark?" Let us consider briefly what perfection does not mean.

Being perfect did not mean for Adam to be all-knowing. After he was created he had to learn about his Creator, about his surroundings, about the animals, and the variety of foods available to him. God gave him the work of assigning names to the many kinds of animals and he would have to observe them in order to give them meaningful ones. (Genesis 2:19,20) Jehovah intended to educate Adam, and since he was perfect he would have been able to retain the information easily, having a perfect memory. And, in turn, the man could instruct his future offspring.

Perfect Adam could run with the animals but not necessarily outrun them. Perfection did not mean that he would not get tired. He might have been able to climb to the top of the tallest tree and perch next to a majestic eagle, but if he would stretch out his arms as if they were wings, and attempt to soar with the eagle, he would quickly have learned that one cannot break God's law of gravity with impunity. He simply was not designed to fly. That was not a defect, that was the way God had made him. Perfection does not require a golfer to get a hole-in-one every time he swings his golf club. Nor a musician to be able to sit in front of a piano for his first time and play Rachmaninoff's famous piano concertos without any practice or lessons.

Consider Jesus as an example. He was born without sin, he was perfect. But does that mean that he could walk as soon as he was born, or did he have to learn to do that? Like all children, he probably stumbled a few times before getting good at it, and finally being able to run. He also had to learn to talk, and later learn from his father the carpentry skills. Does perfection demand that he did everything "perfect" the first time? He needed to be educated, but he must have been an excellent student. By the time he was twelve years of age the teachers in the temple "were in constant amazement at his understanding and his answers." (Luke 2:46,47) Perfection enabled Jesus to take in information, retain it, recall it when needed, and apply it far better than we are able to do in our imperfect condition. (Matthew 13:54)

, although created perfect, had to acquire knowledge, which would take time. And since the process of learning includes making mistakes, in order to shield man from any serious consequences of his mistakes Jehovah God lovingly provided protection in the form of a powerfulyet invisible to humansspirit person, a cherub, to cover or screen man from any harm. He was to be man's guardian angel.

Regarding cherubs, INSIGHT ON THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. 1, page 431 says:

CHERUB: An angelic creature of high rank having special duties, distinguished from the order of seraphs. . . In [Ezekiel’s] pictorial visions the cherubs are intimately associated with the glorious personage of Jehovah and constantly attendant upon him.

The Bible reveals the following about this anointed covering cherub:

"This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: 'You are sealing up a pattern, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. In Eden, the garden of God, you proved to be. Every precious stone was your covering, ruby, topaz and jasper; chrysolite, onyx and jade; sapphire, turquoise and emerald; and of gold was the workmanship of your settings and your sockets in you. In the day of your being created they were made ready. You are the anointed cherub that is covering, and I have set you. On the holy mountain of God you proved to be. In the midst of fiery stones you walked about. You were faultless in your ways from the day of your being created until unrighteousness was found in you.
   "‘"Because of the abundance of your sales goods they filled the midst of you with violence, and you began to sin. And I shall put you as profane out of the mountain of God, and I shall destroy you, O cherub that is covering, from the midst of the fiery stones.
   "‘"Your heart became haughty because of your beauty. You brought your wisdom to ruin on account of your beaming splendor. Onto the earth I will throw you. Before kings I will set you, [for them] to look upon you."
Ezekiel 28:12-17.

This cherub had been "anointed" by Jehovah for the purpose of “covering” or sheltering man in the same way that Jehovah had his angels protect his Son from any harm when on earth; had put a protective "hedge" around faithful Job; and safeguarded faithful servants of his on many occasions. It demonstrates what great love and concern our heavenly Father has for his children. The Scriptures tell us: ”For the angel of the LORD guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.” (Psalms 34:7 NLT; 91:11,12,14; 105:14,15; Luke 4:10,11; Job 1:10; 2 Cor. 6:17,18; see footnote 1)

Being anointed by God rightfully placed this cherub in the Garden of Eden. He had been given his position of authority just like Jehovah has entrusted other servants of his with authority to watch over his people, such as in the case of Moses, Saul, David, Jeroboam, Jesus, and eventually a "little flock" of chosen ones. (compare Numbers 12:7; Hebrews 3:1,2; 5:4-6; 2 Samuel 7:8; Matthew 28:18; 24:45-47; Luke 12:32)

Having received his authority from Jehovah, this anointed cherub could later say to Jesus when tempting him,
"I will give you all this authority and the glory of them, because it has been delivered to me, and to whomever I wish I give it." Luke 4:6.

Adam Breaks the Covenant of Life

Just as a sinful person can do good, because he wants to, in the same way a perfect person can also do bad, if that is what he chooses to do. (see Ezekiel 33:18,19)

This highly favored spirit son of God must have reasoned that he was more worthy of his position than any of the other angelic creatures, due to his wisdom and exceeding beauty. After all, was that not the reason why Jehovah had chosen and anointed him with such wonderful privilege and authority? He became obsessed with his wisdom and beauty, which made him feel superior. He now craved to be like God, desiring to have subjects that would look to him for guidance and worship him. The scripture tells us:

"As for you, you have said in your heart, ‘To the heavens I shall go up. Above the stars of God I shall lift up my throne, and I shall sit down upon the mountain of meeting, in the remotest parts of the north. I shall go up above the high places of the clouds; I shall make myself resemble the Most High.’" ―Isaiah 14:13,14. (see footnote 2)

Waiting for the opportunity for Adam's wife Eve to be alone, this anointed cherub approached her by using a serpent (snake) to conceal his true identity. Eve was not afraid of snakes or any of the animals as they had been made subject to man. Now, this previous "faultless" son of God told Eve the first lie ever spoken. (John 8:44) He directly contradicted the clearly stated consequence of disobedience. The account in Genesis tells us:

"Now the serpent proved to be the most cautious of all the wild beasts of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it began to say to the woman: "Is it really so that God said YOU must not eat from every tree of the garden?" At this the woman said to the serpent: "Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But as for [eating] of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘YOU must not eat from it, no, YOU must not touch it that YOU do not die.’" At this the serpent said to the woman: "YOU positively will not die. For God knows that in the very day of YOUR eating from it YOUR eyes are bound to be opened and YOU are bound to be like God, KNOWING good and bad." ―Genesis 3:1-5.

The idea of wanting to be like God had appealed to the anointed cherub and now he was using this as an inducement to tempt Eve as well. Did Eve also want to be like God? Do we? The implication is clear, if we refuse to listen to God, and decide for ourselves as to what is good and bad, we are in reality wanting to be like God. That is also true of anyone who presumptuously adds or takes away from what God has commanded us. (Deuteronomy 12:32) That is why the vast majority of Adam's offspring have refused to subject themselves to God. This attitude is very prevalent and even encouraged today. Most do not want to submit to any sort of authority. They want to do what is right in their own eyes. Has this proved to be beneficial, as this now rebellious spirit creature promised?

By his lie this once radiant anointed cherub made himself the Devil. And by opposing God he became Satan. He succeeded in getting Eve to listened to him, and so took the fruit and ate it. Later she gave some of it also to her husband. The scriptures tell us that Eve was deceived but Adam was not. (2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14)

We can only guess as to why Adam decided to join his wife in this rebellion. He must have loved her more than his Creator. Perhaps he had thought the fruit itself was poisonous and would prove deadly if eaten. Seeing that nothing happened to Eve, he might have also reasoned that it was safe to eat. We don't know that detail, but he made the decision to disobey God with its consequence, knowing full well that it meant breaking his covenant. And he made that decision not just for himself but also for all of us who were yet to be born. (Romans 5:12) How different the pages of history would read, and what a different world we would have today, had Adam been obedient.

A Promised Hope

Although the first man Adam had now become guilty of sin, Jehovah still had full confidence in his creation. He had pronounced it as good. (Genesis 1:27,28,31) Adam's rebellion was not due to any defect in his design, as is stated at Deuteronomy 32:5, "They have acted ruinously on their own part; They are not his children, the defect is their own. A generation crooked and twisted!"

Jehovah knew that among Adam's offspring that would be born to him, there would be those who would love and obey him. After all, did he not create man in his own image, and would many of his children not reflect that fact? Therefore, before pronouncing sentence upon the rebellious couple, Jehovah made a promise that held out hope for all future generations that refused to imitate their father Adam. Addressing the instigator of the rebellion, the invisible cherub behind the serpent, God said:
"And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel." ―Genesis 3:15.

In this cryptic prophecy Jehovah promised that he would restore the covenant of life with all who would be obedient and exercise faith in this foretold “seed.” (Rom. 5:12-14) In fact, the entire holy Scriptures deal in one way or another with the unfolding of this promise. It is the theme of the Bible. In due time God would reveal the identities of "the woman" and "her seed" to those who looked to him for salvation, and expose "the seed" of the serpent, who would be crushed out of existence at God’s appointed time. He also decreed that there would be enmity between the two. Those loving God, and loved by him, would be hated and persecuted by those who sided with the serpent. One could not be a friend with the world of whom Satan was the ruler, and at the same time be God’s friend. (John 15:18,19; James 4:4)

After pronouncing his judgment upon “the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world," Jehovah also passed sentence upon the man and his wife and ousted them from their paradise home. Had the rebellious couple been able to eat from the tree of life after their disobedience Jehovah would have been obligated to grant them the life that the tree symbolized, otherwise the tree would have proved to be a lie. Perhaps, that is why the rebel cherub promised Eve that she would not die, believing that all she and her husband needed to do was eat from the tree of life and they would continue to live. However, in order to prevent that, Jehovah "posted at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubs and the flaming blade of a sword that was turning itself continually to guard the way to the tree of life." Being outside of the covenant with God they now also found themselves outside their paradise home. (Revelation 12:9 NASB; Genesis 3:4,16-19,23, 24)

Our Creator, who designed the amazing human body with all its interdependent organs and parts, which we often take for granted when everything functions the way it should (thus enjoying good health), certainly also knows what is best when it comes to human relationships. To get along with one another in peace and harmony, especially on a world wide scale, we need guidance from above. (Jer. 10:24) By his disobedience, Adam had rejected any dependence on God and could no longer look to him for direction. The terrible consequences that soon followed was an indication of what was in store for humanity estranged from their Creator. Not being guided by God’s law and thus not in a position to teach it to his offspring, such as morals (standards of right and wrong), Adam's firstborn son Cain, in a fit of jealous rage, turned upon his younger brother Abel and murdered him. It set the stage for things to come. (Gen. 4:8,25) Every man became a law to himself, enforced by his own strength and superiority, although at that time everyone was still closely related to each other. (Gen. 4:23,24; Eccl. 8:9) In time the whole earth came to be filled with violence and bloodshed; so very opposite of what God had intended.

Aggravating the situation was the fact that other angels joined in the rebellion by materializing and marrying the daughters of men, producing offspring called Nephilim, who were "the mighty ones. . . the men of fame," superhumans. As a result the earth came to be ruined in the sight of God, “and every inclination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only bad all the time.” The account tells us that Jehovah felt hurt at his heart. He had no choice but to intervene. (Gen. 6:1-7,11)

Only one man, Noah, was different from his contemporaries and he found favor in God’s eyes. Because of his faith and obedience in following God’s instructions to build an ark, Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives, survived the destruction of that world. (Heb. 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20) The disobedient angels were forced to return to the spirit realm, unable to save their wives and children from perishing in the flood waters; whose deaths they mourn to this day. They were not allowed to resume their positions that they had previously occupied in the heavens but were now in “prison,” as the Bible calls it, “pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment.” No longer could they take on human bodies and freely mingle among mankind as they had done before. All they have been able to do since the time of the flood, in their debased state, is to pose as invisible departed “souls” of people who have died, in an effort to perpetuate Satan's lie that disobedience to God does not result in death. (Gen. 7:21-24; Eccl. 9:5,6; 2 Peter 2:4,5)

The disastrous results for seeking independence from God and living outside his covenant had become painfully evident. Man was not created to direct his own step and that fact is irrefutable, for the pages of history tell of the sad consequences.

But what would life have been like living within the terms of the covenant? Would obedience to God really have been beneficial for mankind, resulting in health, happiness and peace, the things everyone wants? Jehovah was determined to provide the answer. He was going to produce a people whom he would bring into a covenant with him, as Adam had been, but who would obey his laws. They would prove to be a model for all mankind, an example of how subjection to God is far better than independence. (Deut. 29:10-13
; 26:18,19) And they would be blessed because by means of them Jehovah determined to provide the foretold promised seed, the Messiah. He would be the one to make possible the restoration of the covenant between God and man. be continued


(1) the Hebrew word for cover at Ezekiel 28:14, saw-kak' means to cover over; to protect. See Exodus 33:22. In the NWT it is translated as screen. In some translations he is called the anointed "guardian" cherub (Ezekiel 28:14).

Isaiah 14:13,14 - Some insist that this passage in Isaiah addresses the king of Babylon and not the "anointed cherub," because in verse 16 he is referred to as a man. It should be noted, however, that Jesus, in an illustration, referred to the Devil also as a man (anthropos). (Matthew 13:27-29,37-39 WE; NWT; see Interlinear Translation) Also, the scripture in Ezekiel 28 is addressed to the king of Tyre but it cannot apply to him because he was not created and never was in "Eden, the garden of God."


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