Reasons the Christian Church is not IN the New Covenant

(from “Defending Dispensationalism”) by Mark Graeser, John Schoenheit and John Lynn

 

  1. A “covenant” is a solemn promise binding two parties in an agreement. In certain biblical covenants like the “New” Covenant, God binds Himself unconditionally by His love and grace to perform specific promises to specific people (Israel). These promises cannot be disannulled, and neither can they be “fulfilled” only in part; they must at some point be fulfilled completely or God’s righteousness would be compromised, and He found to be a liar. If the Church cannot “fulfill” the New Covenant, then it must be in a different relationship with God, (we are “in Christ/ in the Lord” and Israel cannot claim this relationship).

     2. The covenant was made with Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham according to the flesh, and with them as a specific nation. Since the Church is neither           Jews nor Gentiles (a “nation”), how can the Church fulfill this covenant?

  1. Since the Abrahamic covenant promises Israel a permanent existence as a nation (with a physical country), then the Church is not fulfilling Israel’s promises, nor is it “the New Israel” (or literally “the Israel of God”). The New Covenant properly belongs to the restoration of Israel as a glorious nation that is filled with a knowledge of God as “the waters fill the seas.”
  1. Because the Abrahamic covenant promises her permanent possession of the Promised Land, Israel must still come into possession of the land, which she has never fully possessed in her history, according to the precise specifications of that covenant. Old Testament prophecies confirm that Israel will have full possession of the land of Israel in the future, and Ezekiel 48 even describes which tribe will get which part of the land. In contrast, the Christian Church will never possess the land of Israel, and it has no “tribes,” so it cannot fulfill the prophecies of Ezekiel.
  1. The “New” Covenant is made with the same people as the “Old” Covenant, namely Israel.
  1. There is a distinction among personal promises to Abraham, national promises to Abraham’s seed and universal promises to “all the families of the earth.” The national promises can be fulfilled only by the nation itself. The language of the New Covenant is quite specifically directed to national Israel (Jer. 31:31-33).
  1. The Gospel of Christ is not a covenant, but the revelation of the salvation of God to all men.
  1. All the blessings that come to the Church today are based upon the blood of Christ, which was necessarily shed to make possible the New Covenant, according to Jeremiah 31. But just because the Church partakes of the blessings of the shedding of Christ’s blood (shed for the propitiation of the sins of the whole world –1 John 2:2) it does not mean that the Church therefore fulfills the New Covenant. The shed blood of Christ was a necessary condition for the formation of the Church, but was not sufficient for the fulfillment of the covenant. There is still the matter of land, material blessings, rest, Christ’s reign, a new heart for Israel, and so on, that were promised as a part of the New Covenant and have not yet been fulfilled. That’s why Hebrews 7: 22 says, “Jesus has become the guarantee (“surety”) of a better covenant”.
  1. Although we do not have the covenant made with us, we can have some of its blessings ministered to us, as well as be ministers of some of its blessings. This is the same principle as Peter’s Acts 2 citation of Joel 2:28-32 in reference to the giving of holy spirit on the day of Pentecost, a prophecy that actually refers to the still future “day of the Lord .” Peter had not been introduced to the truths of the “dispensation of the Secret” (Ephesians 3: 8) Although Peter did not then know the “secret,” his reference to Joel was relevant because each Christian now partakes of the holy spirit aspect of the future New Covenant with Israel. To me this is prevarication with the plain reading of the text. Peter absolutely DID NOT KNOW what he was talking about. Paul, in Romans 8:23 clears it up by saying we have the “firstfruits of the spirit”. It is easy to understand how people can have the blessings of a covenant ministered to them without being part of the covenant if one thinks of the Gentiles in the Old Testament. They were not part of the Old Covenant, but they could have covenant blessings ministered to them. Many non-Jews lived in Israel, apparently for that reason.
  1. As the Church receives blessings of the Abrahamic covenant by faith without fulfilling that covenant, so the Church may receive blessings from the New Covenant without fulfilling it.
  1. Israel must go through the Tribulation and be delivered by the Messiah before the New Covenant can be fulfilled (Rom. 11:26 and 27).
  1. Since the Tribulation, the second coming of Christ and the Millennial Reign of Christ are yet future, the fulfillment of this promise must also be future, and cannot be fulfilled now by the Church.
  1. The Messiah, who ratified this New Covenant with Israel, must return to the earth to complete the salvation, restoration and blessing of Israel that is promised them as a result of the New Covenant God promised them.

 

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About fredswolfe

I was born in 1949 and raised in Paris, Illinois. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1967 and received an assignment to serve aboard the U.S.S. Mauna Loa, AE-8 off the coast of Vietnam. During my three years and nine months of active duty, I toured the Mediterranean Sea twice and the Caribbean Sea once. What an experience to look back on! I was separated from the Navy three months early to attend College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. Near the end of my first term as Student Body President, I received Jesus Christ and became born again in 1974. I have been studying the Bible, The Word of God and teaching others ever since. I have been married for thirty five years to my wife Joanne, from Whitestone, New York. We are the proud parents of two grown sons and two granddaughters and two grandsons. We have lived in Illinois, New York, Arizona and California, where we now make our home, in Marina Del Rey.

2 responses to “Reasons the Christian Church is not IN the New Covenant”

  1. Michael Lewis says :

    A little problem with this one my dear brother. A covenant is when two agree on what each of them will to honor the agreement. If either fall short the agreement is terminated. A promise only require the word of the promisor. Also the fulfillment of the person making the promise.

    Like

    • fredswolfe says :

      Take it up with the authors Mr. Lewis; but thanks for noticing. I’m not going to engage in the definition since that is not the point of the article. For arguments sake, I think most people will know what message I am trying to convey.

      Like

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