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.