Question: Did God make a New Covenant with the Church and a second one with Israel? (Part 1)
Romans 9:4-5 lists the unique privileges that Israel enjoyed as a nation. Among these were the covenants. Therefore, the covenants “pertain” or belong to Israel, not the Church. Prophesying of the New Covenant Jeremiah 31:31 says, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”1 Someday the Lord will enact a New Covenant with the twelve tribes of Israel (Eze. 37:19). Like the Abrahamic, Land, and Davidic covenants, God’s New Covenant with Israel will be unilateral and unconditional. It is guaranteed, resting upon the character of a God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2).
Some see the ultimate fulfillment of the New Covenant suggested in the blessing clause of the Abrahamic Covenant. Genesis 12:1-3 says, “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’” Though presently scattered in unbelief, the Lord will someday gather together, restore, and bless Israel, the nation. Romans 11:16 says, “For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.” In Paul’s argument both the firsfruits and the root represent Abraham and God’s promises to him. The lump and the branches represent Israel the nation. Since Abraham was eternally set apart to God, so are his descendants—the nation Israel—guaranteeing their restoration.
In Luke 22:15-18, after keeping His last Passover until the future Millennial Kingdom (Eze. 45:21; Luke 22:18), Christ initiated the Lord’s Supper (vv. 19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). The symbols of bread and wine speak of Calvary whereby His death and resurrection, He would provide the foundation for the future implementation of the New Covenant. Hebrews 9:15-22 explains by comparing it to a last will and testament. A testator writes a will leaving behind in writing how their inheritance is to be dispersed. It is ratified by the testator’s signature and an executor ensures that the terms of the testament are carried out after the testator’s death. The Lord Jesus ratified the New Covenant by His blood, fully paying the penalty for sins. However, since He is risen from the dead, He is also the mediator or executor who will ensure that the New Covenant is fully implemented.
The full implementation of the New Covenant awaits a future day. After the completion and rapture of the church referred to as the “fullness of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:25), the Lord will begin the process of removing Israel’s temporary judicial blindness resulting from their rejection of Christ at His first coming (Rom. 11:8-11, 25). A surviving remnant of Israel will be purged of unbelievers and refined during the Great Tribulation, the second half of Daniel’s 70th week. They will call on the Lord by faith and recognize Christ as their Messiah (Zech. 12:10-14; 13:1, 8-9). The New Covenant’s blessings will be fully enacted at the end of the Tribulation and put on display throughout the Millennial Kingdom age.
Though there is only one New Covenant between God and Israel, the nations will be blessed by its full implementation and the Church has already begun to partake of some of its spiritual blessings. It is through Christ that Israel, the nations, and the Church are to be blessed (Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:16).
Next, we will consider the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant and how they relate to Israel, the nations, and the Church.
1. All references are in the NKJV
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