What Exactly Is A “Testament”?

jesus-on-the-cross“For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” – Hebrews‬ ‭9:17‬ ‭

The word “Testament” has become something of a title in our minds, void of meaning. Like a persons name, we just say it, but rarely connect the definition of it, to it, when we do. Rediscovering or reminding ourselves of the origins and intentions of commonly quoted words, names, and titles (especially in Scripture) can bring new levels of understanding to the passages we often read.

A “testament” publicly testifies, with legal backing, of ones will concerning that which he or she possesses or has authority over, after they are gone. It signifies who those possessions, positions, titles, and authorities will be passed on to after the testator departs. In other words, it identifies who receives an inheritance, backed by legal authority. To put it simply, it is the same as a “Will”. Which is were we get the term “A Last Will and Testament“.

Wikipedia describes a “testament” as this:

“A will or testament is a legal document by which a person, the testator, expresses his or her wishes as to how his or her property is to be distributed at death, and names one or more persons, the executor, to manage the estate until its final distribution.”

Therefor, every time you see the word “testament” in scripture, don’t just glance over it, instead understand it. When you read the word “testament” you can replace it with the word “Will“, (for they are one in the same) and begin to see what it is really saying with new clarity. For example, the “New Testament” is the “New Will” by which we inherit all through the death of Christ.

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” – Luke‬ ‭10:21-22‬ ‭

You see God gave all power, dominion, and authority to Jesus. Then Jesus “willed” it to us who believe and love Him, but in order for us to receive that inheritance the possessor of that inheritance first had to pass on. Remember that a will has no power to be enacted until the willer of the will has died.

“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” – Hebrews‬ ‭9:15-17‬ ‭

Because all things were given to Christ by the father while He lived, Jesus was able to then delegate out all things to us upon His death through His Will, or the “Testament of Jesus Christ.” In doing so, even as Christ was lifted up with all power and authority, making the enemy His foot stool, He then (through His will) draw all men unto Himself causing them to be lifted up and the enemy became our foot stool also. Therefore, through His will (or testament) all that was given to Christ is now distributed to us. His sonship, His power, His authority, we have inherited it all through this new will and testament.

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” – John‬ ‭12:32-33‬ ‭

“And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” – Matthew‬ ‭26:27-29‬ ‭

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” – Romans‬ ‭8:14-17‬ ‭

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬ ‭


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