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Has Jesus Established the New Covenant?

09 Apr
New Covenant

from Google Images

I am presently involved in an in-depth study of the nature of the Kingdom of God. I believe it is spiritual in nature, but the eschatology of all futurist eschatology seems to make it physical. In my previous study on this theme, I showed the fallacy of the futurists’ point of view that the spiritual foreshadows the physical, which is what they claim, when they concluded that Jesus did establish a spiritual Kingdom nearly 2000 years ago, but at his Second Coming he will establish a physical Kingdom, in which he will rule in a physical body from a physical throne in physical Jerusalem. Therefore, I must ask: if Jesus intended to establish a new covenant with Israel during the first century AD, and, if so, did he successfully do what he intended?

The Lord promised Israel through the prophet Jeremiah that he intended to make a new covenant with them:

Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, says the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34 – emphasis mine)

One of the points futurists like to make is that, if we are still evangelizing the world, if the Gospel is still being preached, then the words: “they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD for they shall all know me” are not fulfilled. Well, let me repeat my question. “If Jesus intended to establish a new covenant with Israel during the first century AD, and, if so, did he successfully do what he intended?” In other words, has Jesus established the New Covenant? Do we live in the days of the New Covenant or are we still in the days when the Old Covenant is valid? If we are living in the days of the New Covenant, but our evangelizing the world seems to contradict that, then obviously we do not understand what Jeremiah wrote. First and foremost, scripture cannot be broken. That is, the word of God cannot be made to contradict itself (John 10:35). If we think we see a contradiction, then it is our understanding of what we are reading that should be questioned, not the word of God.

Notice in the above excerpt that Jeremiah is contrasting the characteristics of the new covenant that God intended to make with Israel in the future with the covenant that he made with Israel centuries before Jeremiah’s prophecy. What was the modus operandi under the Old Covenant? The Kingdom of Israel was populated by married parents giving birth, and once the child was circumcised he was taught who he was in relationship with God.

Under the New Covenant the Gospel (evangelism, if you please) tells sinners who they are in relationship with God, what God has done, and what they could become. Those who believe the Gospel are spiritually circumcised and brought into the Kingdom of God. They know God before they become citizens of the Kingdom. Not so under the Old Covenant. First one became a child of God, then he was taught who God was and about his relationship with him. There is a big difference here. For the latter the fear of the Lord is already in the heart of the citizen of the Kingdom (Jeremiah 32:40), but under the former modus operandi the fear of the Lord had to be taught the citizen of the Kingdom.

 

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7 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2018 in AD 70 Eschatology

 

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7 responses to “Has Jesus Established the New Covenant?

  1. intanglegary

    April 11, 2018 at 17:16

    Eddie, you posted,

    “I disagree with you, and I don’t believe you are taking the scriptures into consideration with your posting. Clearly, at least to me, you have your mind set on an idea, and you will conform the scriptures to that idea, not a good thing.”

    My idea is that the scriptures tell God’s story which is exactly true, while at the same time being riddled with ambiguities. This has lead to so many variations on the simple theme of the bible, by all sorts of camps, each doing the not good thing you mention, taking a single idea and bending the whole bible to that one concept.

    The Futurists love their seven years of tribulation, all those charts and graphs must all be true. The rapture crowd just has to have their grand escape, or they might just have to weather the storm, dealing with the anti-christ, no way they can allow for that eventuality. The Historists seem hell bent on the idea that the Roman Catholic church is the beast and the Pope is the anti-christ, Maybe they’re right, but I wouldn’t bet anything important on that. And the Preterists are stuck on the idea that the second coming already happened in 70 AD, which sounds, at least to me, like a direct contradiction of scripture.

    For myself, I’m stuck on one simple idea, that Israel blessed us with a savior, who came once to take away our sins, and will appear a second time to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. So, I guess I am as guilty as the rest of them, wrapping the whole bible around this one concept. However, this concept is the very core of the bible message, repeated over and over, commanded over and over, so I am quite confident that, at the very least, I haven’t locked into any false doctrine.

    So, Eddie, perhaps I haven’t persuaded you, but I do trust that you’ll figure it all out. We can share in the hope that the Holy Spirit will lead us to a better understanding of God’s Word. We are both searching and are have been promised that we’ll find the answers we seek, and that is a good thing.

    God Bless The Searching,
    -Gary

     
  2. intanglegary

    April 9, 2018 at 15:49

    Eddie,

    Romans 11:25-28 helps to explain the relationship between the old and new covenants and how they apply to Israel and to the Church:

    25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

    “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
    27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

    28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

    The first coming of Jesus established the new covenant which was rejected by Israel. Of course, this also fulfilled the prophecies regarding the Gentiles, the doors were opened wide to them and when the full number of the Gentiles are saved, the Messiah will return and save Israel.

    It’s interesting that whole world was blessed through the Jews, but to accomplish this they had to first become enemies of the Church. However, God’s promises will all still be kept, the second coming of Jesus will fulfill most of the old and new testament prophecies, with the details of the millennium still to unfold. Then everything will be finished:

    Revelation 21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

    In the end, it will all be worth it, which is the blessed hope.

    God Bless
    -Gary

     
    • Eddie

      April 10, 2018 at 08:02

      Greetings Gary and welcome. I thought you wouldn’t be back. Your previous reply seemed like you were letting me to my thinking, while you enjoyed your point of view. Well, let’s see what you think in this discussion.

      First of all, you are missing the point of how a covenant is made. The Old Covenant was made between assumed equals. “If you do this, I will do that, and if you fail to do this, then I will not fail to judge you” etc. or a reasonable facsimile. No such covenant was made between God and man in the New Testament. The New Testament is not a covenant between equals, presumed or otherwise. It is a unilateral covenant, similar to the covenant God made with Abraham: “Come with me to a new land. and I will make you a great nation. All Abe needed to do was follow, and God would do the rest. He couldn’t fail, because all it required was trust, but the Mosaic Covenant lacked faith. Israel really thought she could hold up her end.

      You seem to believe that Israel isn’t “saved”. Did Jesus die only for the gentiles or did he die for the Jews too? How does Israel “get saved” after Jesus returns? What will occur at that time? Must Jesus be crucified all over again? I know you don’t believe such a thing, but that is what your “words” imply. Consider what you are saying, Gary.

      Revelation 21:1-4 already occurred. If it didn’t occur, we don’t have a New Covenant. This scripture establishes the New Covenant in 70 AD. It is symbolic of the New Covenant coming down from God out of heaven to the earth and replacing the Old Covenant, immediately after Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed (cir. 70 AD). You seem to want to literalize everything that is apocalyptic in scope, but you wish to take the clearest words used (viz. Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 23:34-36) and make them a metaphor. And, why? Is it only to support your preconceived notion that a “physical” Jesus MUST “physically” return to a “physical” Jerusalem, and there to reign in a “physical” Temple? In such a case everyone in the world could point to it and say “There it is! That is the Kingdom of God!” It is “physical” and we can “see” it with our “physical” eyes. The modus operandi of scripture is that the “physical” is a type, or a foreshadowing of the “spiritual”, but you would have us believe it is the other way around.

      May you be blessed, Gary, with the guidance of our Lord, Jesus, as you read the scriptures.

       
      • intanglegary

        April 10, 2018 at 16:46

        Hi Eddie,

        Now that I’ve commented on your blog I get emails on your new posts which I do enjoy reading. As I’ve mentioned, I attend a church that preaches the rapture which I clearly don’t agree with and I guess I also comment on sites that teach Preterism, parts of which I can agree with but, of course, we’ve established my views on the second coming of Christ.

        I believe the first coming of the Messiah established the new covenant, which has been in place since his death and resurrection, and the promises of that covenant will be fulfilled when He returns for the second time: Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28).

        As for the nature of the covenants, this seems much simpler for Gentiles since they’ve only been invited to the second covenant, accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, wait for His return, receive the rewards; this is the good news. Of course, individual Jews are also invited into the new plan of salvation, but “God’s chosen people”, the nation of Israel, rejected their Messiah and are still wandering in the wilderness, they are not saved by either covenant.

        In my opinion, this is where dispensationalism starts to go astray, trying to explain exactly how God will finalize his dealings with the house of Jacob in his times of troubles. God makes many promises to Israel, outside the bounds of the old covenant, for instance Romans 11:25-28 is reiterating that God’s promises are irrevocable and will still be fulfilled in the context of the new covenant.

        The whole millennium debate is another confusing study, mired down in all sorts of ambiguity and figurative language, and I’ve seen studies that get way off track in this area. My current theory is that there will be a millennium period, which will likely last for 1000 years (John seems pretty literal on this point). And my guess is that when the Messiah returns for the second time, to establish himself as King of Kings, all of Israel will recognize Him, and accept Him, exactly as predicted.

        As for The Kingdom being physical or spiritual, I’m really not sure how that matters, it seems to me that the Kingdom is definitely spiritual in nature. We are currently both physical and spiritual, the spiritual Kingdom residing within our physical bodies, so I guess you could say it’s both states. When Jesus returns, we will receive new bodies that will be spiritual, like the angles, so things clearly take a radical change at that point. Of course, angles can also appear in physical form as well, so what does it matter as long as we’ll be with God forever?

        God Bless,
        -Gary

         
        • Eddie

          April 10, 2018 at 17:39

          Greetings Gary, I am posting your counter point of view, because that seems to be what you wish me to do. If you wish me to reply to your point-of-view, please don’t hesitate to ask. However, at this point, and, as you claimed in a reply to me a few days ago:

          I think our discussion has become a bit circular, you clearly believe that Jesus promised to return in the first century and I’m totally convinced that he did not. Seems we’re stuck on that one point and I can see that you’re quite locked into Full Preterism, even though the implication would be that Jesus failed to deliver on all the other promises that his second coming was to bring. [Gary – April 8th – on “Not With Observation“]

          Since our discussion really leads nowhere, there isn’t much of a point to offer my point-of-view. You already know it.

          May the Lord guide you in your study of his word.

           
      • intanglegary

        April 10, 2018 at 17:45

        Hi Eddie, thought I’d give these one more try:

        Your question – You seem to want to literalize everything that is apocalyptic in scope, but you wish to take the clearest words used (viz. Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 23:34-36) and make them a metaphor.

        Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. 28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

        I know I covered this one in a previous post, and I’m not using a figurative translation. These people did witness, first hand, the resurrection of Jesus, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and the subsequent explosion of the Church. Many of them not only saw the Kingdom of Christ coming, they joined it. However, they have not yet received their final reward, new heavenly bodies, living eternally with God and seeing Jesus as he is.

        Matthew 23:34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

        This is a perfect example of the figurative use of the term “this generation”. Jesus is clearly talking about this generation as a type of people and not the current generation in a literal sense. Was it “this generation” that shed the blood of Abel and Zechariah? No, but they were the same as those previous generations and this is the clear context of that phrase.

        Matthew 24:32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

        I have seen compelling arguments that this is also a figurative use of the phrase “this generation”, and they actually use Matthew 23:34-36 as one of the examples of the same usage pattern. However, I’ve always preferred the literal interpretation, that Jesus is referring to the generation that sees the signs of the fig tree as the generation that “will not pass away until all these things have happened”.

        This fits perfectly with the numerous commands to keep watch, to try and figure out the lesson from the fig tree and learn how the end times will unfold. This is a critical difference between believers and non-believers, since Christians are paying close attention to the signs, we will not be surprised:

        1 Thessalonians 1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

        God Bless,
        -Gary

         
        • Eddie

          April 10, 2018 at 18:01

          Greetings Gary, as I had claimed in a previous reply, you seem to want to post your point-of-view, but you claimed in a reply a few days ago:

          I think our discussion has become a bit circular, you clearly believe that Jesus promised to return in the first century and I’m totally convinced that he did not. Seems we’re stuck on that one point and I can see that you’re quite locked into Full Preterism, even though the implication would be that Jesus failed to deliver on all the other promises that his second coming was to bring. [Gary – April 8th – on “Not With Observation“]

          So, I’ll post your point-of-view without offering my own, unless you get carried away, thinking you’ve stumped me and there are no answers for your statements. I disagree with you, and I don’t believe you are taking the scriptures into consideration with your posting. Clearly, at least to me, you have your mind set on an idea, and you will conform the scriptures to that idea, not a good thing.

          May the Lord guide you in your study of his word.

           

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