Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative
Inclination: promise | Seminary: none

Divine Covenants… the New Covenant
A Series on Divine Covenants: Part 5

1. Study all of the verses pertaining to the New Covenant: Isaiah 59:21; 61:8-9, Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:40, Ezekiel 34:25-31; 36:25-28; 37:26-28, and Zechariah 13:7-9. What does God promise in the New Covenant?

"Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,… (Jer 31:31)."

God will make a new covenant with the whole Jewish nation. During Jeremiah's time, the nation was split in two: Israel and Judah.

"…not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,… (Jer 31:32)."

The New Covenant is different and apart from the Mosaic Covenant. In addition, because of the Mosaic Covenant, this unconditional covenant was made with the literal nation of Israel.

"But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,… (Jer 31:33)."

"'It will come about in all the land,' Declares the LORD, 'That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. (Zech 13:8).'"

Fully 1/3 of all Jews will be regenerated. Note: there is no reference to Gentiles. Regeneration refers to a new heart or decision-making process and a new spirit that will help them in their process of sanctification.

"I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jer 31:33)."

"As for Me, this is My covenant with them, …My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth,… (Isa 59:21)."

"I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me (Jer 32:40)."

"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. (Ezek 36:25-28)"

The New Covenant will bestow something within the Jew: the Holy Spirit.

"They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, (Jer 31:34)."

"My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring (Isa 59:21)."

Once the regeneration of the Jews begins, each successive generation will be regenerated.

"for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more (Jer 31:34)."

God will forgive sin! This is a big departure from the Mosaic Covenant, which only covered the Jew's sin. The New Covenant could do something that the Mosaic could not: complete forgiveness of sin.

"...I will faithfully give them their recompense and make an everlasting covenant with them (Isa 61:8)."

"They will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid. I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land, and they will not endure the insults of the nations anymore (Ezek 34:28-29)."

God will bless Jews with a secure nation and a bountiful land.

"I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever (Ezek 37:26-28)."

When God builds a Sanctuary within the nation of Israel, the whole world will know that God sanctified the nation of Israel.

2. Given that the New Covenant was made with the Jews, how is it that Gentiles are spiritually blessed as well? Survey the New Testament with references to the New Covenant: Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:14-20, Romans 11:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:19; 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:2-6, Ephesians 1:7; 2:11-16; 3:5-6; 4:32, Hebrews 7:22; 8:6-13; 9:11-22; 10:16-18; 12:24; 13:20, Titus 3:5, and Colossians 1:14.

In review, God made the Abrahamic (and its subsets Land, King, and New) and Mosaic Covenants with Abraham and his physical descendants who received his inheritance; it would be these people who later formed the nation of Israel. Gentiles were "excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world (Eph 2:12)."

Jesus Christ introduced the communion cup saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood (Luke 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25)." His reference to the "new covenant" to the Jewish apostles referred to the only "new covenant" in the Old Testament.

Hebrews refers to Jesus as "the mediator of a new covenant (Heb 9:15)." Because of His sacrifice, the prophecy of Jeremiah is becoming fulfilled, "according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Heb 9:22)."

Regarding the Jew and Gentile, the apostle Paul, former eminent Pharisee, tells the Ephesians that Christ brought "both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall (Eph 2:14)." The "dividing wall" between Jew and Gentile was the Mosaic Covenant, which prevented Gentiles from receiving spiritual forgiveness and blessing from God.

The spiritual blessings of the New Covenant are: a) regeneration, b) indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and c) the forgiveness of sins. The apostle Paul, in his ministry to the Gentiles, states that Believers are regenerated (Ti 3:5), indwelt with the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 3:3), and forgiven of our sins (Eph 1:7; 4:32; Col 1:14).

3. When will this covenant be fulfilled?

Christians now experience the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant; however, this covenant has not been completely fulfilled. The New Covenant was made principally with the Jews and the spiritual and physical blessings, promised to them in this unconditional covenant, will be fulfilled when the other parts of the eternal Abrahamic Covenant is fulfilled (Land and King). When this occurs at some future time, the Abrahamic Covenant will be fulfilled: 1/3 of Israel will be repentant, accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, regathered, and restored within the land promised by God.

4. What is the significance of the New Covenant?

The New Covenant elaborates the universal blessings God promised in the Abrahamic Covenant and provides Gentiles a means for salvation; Gentiles can be forgiven of their sins by faith in Jesus Christ.

Despite Israel's efforts of obedience or lack of, the New Covenant was unconditional; God said that it would be fulfilled because of Israel's disobedience, and that it would cause Israel's obedience (Ezek 36:21-22, Jer 32:39-40, Ezek 36:27; 37:23-24)!

5. Why is this elaboration of the Abrahamic Covenant, the New Covenant, spread over these different prophets?

God's reason becomes apparent with a historical perspective:

722 B.C. - The Northern Kingdom Israel falls to Assyria. Deported into captivity, Israel ceases to exist. Witnessing this, the prophet Isaiah foretells of the fall of Jerusalem.

605 B.C. – Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar defeats Assyria and Egypt and makes the Southern Kingdom Judah a vassal state. A limited vassal state deportation takes place, and among them, Daniel is taken.

597 B.C. – Judite king Jehoakim / Jehoiachin rebels and is defeated. 10,000 are deported, and among them, Ezekiel is taken.

586 B.C. – Judite king Zedekiah rebels and Jerusalem is destroyed. Massive deportations take place and the Southern Kingdom of Judah no longer exists. The prophet Jeremiah stays behind.

The prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah all witness the nation's lost promise of land. While they all prophesize of God's judgment, God will bring Israel back home with the promise of a New Covenant. The prophet Zechariah would be involved with the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

"The concern of the scholar is primarily with what the text meant; the concern of the layperson is usually with what the text means. The believing scholar insists that we must have both."

Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart (1981)

Series: Understanding God's covenants with man
Part 6: What is and Why the Old and New Testament?

Series: Understanding God's covenants with man
Part 4: Divine Covenants… the King

Return to Systematic Study: Theology Proper

Jesus Christ

Return to Systematic Study: Pneumatology

The New Covenant

Related subject:

How and why the Mosaic Covenant is essential to the Abrahamic Covenant

Topical Index: God>Works of God>His Covenants

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