Israel and the New Covenant

By Clovis Miller


God intended for the Old Covenant, made at Mt. Sinai; and the New Covenant made at Jerusalem, to be between Himself and Israel. He didn't make such covenants with any other nation. Jesus said that He had been sent only, "...to the lost sheep of the House of Israel" (Matt. 15:24). He came into the world to die, that Israel might be forgiven of her failure to keep the first covenant made at Mt. Sinai through Moses; and which she was continuously breaking. Through the death of Jesus, she would not only be forgiven of her sins, but also released from the Old Covenant, so as to be able to enter into a new and everlasting covenant with God (Hosea 2:18-23 ; Rom. 7:2-4).

We know from Scripture that God declared that He was married to Israel (Jeremiah 3:14, 20 and Jer. 31:31-32). This was done at Mt. Sinai where Moses brought the pronouncements of God to the people and they agreed to abide by all that the Lord had said (Ex. 19:8; 24:3,7). However, almost immediately, they began breaking their covenant with God by making, and worshipping the golden calf (Ex. 32:1-5,6-9). Because of their rebelllion, in going after other gods, down through the centuries; God finally sent them into captivity in Babylon. When they returned to the land from captivity, they forsook the gods of other people; but then transferred their "stiff- necked" (gainsaying) attitude (Ex. 34:9 ; Rom. 10:21) to the Old Covenant given at Mt. Sinai, seeking to establish their own righteousness by the keeping of it (Rom. 10:2-3). Having broke the Law of God, Israel could not be justified by her attempts to start keeping it again. She would have to be justified by one who kept it perfectly; and then layed down His righteous life that she might be forgiven for not keeping it perfectly. This is what Jesus did for her, and is the stumblingblock of which Israel has yet been able to step over (1 Cor. 1:23).

From the foundation of the world, God in His omniscience, foreknew that He would make two covenants with Israel; and that she would break the first and reject the second. Because He knew that she would break the first; and in order for Him to make a second, the Lamb of God also had to be slain "from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8), that atonement could be made for her sins at the appointed time. Without the atonement, to take away the sins under the first covenant, there could be no second covenant.

Since God made His covenants exclusively with Israel, did He intend that Gentiles should also be saved under the New Covenant? Absolutely! That is proven by John 3:16. However, salvation was to come first to Israel, because to them were committed the Oracles, or teachings of God (Rom. 3:1-2). If Israel, as a nation, had accepted the New Covenant, then the Gentiles of the world would have still been saved by being "grafted in" to the same Covenant by faith, just as they are now (Rom. 11:17-20). That Israel would have accepted the New Covenant, as God intended, might be considered God's "Plan A". That she would reject the New Covenant, and God would bring salvation the the gentiles first, might be viewed as His "Plan B". At any rate, God had it all covered! He will save anyone, Jew or Gentile, who will put their trust in Him.

The fact that Israel has initially rejected the New Covenant; changed the order in which events would be carried out. Because of her stubborness and rejection of God's plan, all the gentiles of the earth who will be saved, will be brought into God's kingdom first (Rom.11:25). Then, and only then, will the blindness of Israel be lifted whereby she as a nation will repent, and God can fulfill His New Covenant, with her, saving all of Israel (Rom. 11:23). God still deeply loves Israel, though she remains in her sins to this very day. She is yet determined to restore the Old Covenant, and justify herself by keeping it; though it was made obsolete through the work of Jesus (Heb. 8:13). She will succeed in restoring it, only to enter the great tribulation. At the very end of the tribulation, when the armies of the Antichrist are gathered at Megiddo, in their march to anihilate the Jews in Jerusalem, will they finally come to their senses and receive Jesus as their Messiah and only hope (Zech.12:10). Then Jesus, and the saints, will return from heaven, at which time the Antichrist and his followers will be destroyed (Zech 14:3-4).

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