Call of the Church

Understanding Our Mission

Israel in the New Covenant

Understanding the Transition from Old Covenant to New Covenant

Does God give promises to the Church to guide and encourage our work in history? He absolutely does. But the key to understanding those promises is rooted in our understanding of God’s covenants, in particular the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.

This essay looks at the key elements of the transition from the Old to the New Covenant and the implications of that transition for the call and work of the Church. My hope is that what you read here will have a deep, lasting impact for the sake of righteousness on your life and the life of your family for generations to come.

When we talk about the mission of the Church, we normally think of the Great Commission. But there is not clear agreement among Christians about what is meant by “disciple the nations”. Does it mean to see at least a few people come to Christ among every ethnic group? Does it mean that most people will become Christians? Will the Church accomplish its mission prior to Christ’s return? To answer these kinds of questions, we need to let the rest of Scripture inform our answer. That is what this essay is about — seeking to understand the depth and breadth of the Church’s mission by looking at the covenantal aspects of how the Church came into being. To do this, I will look at three related points which lay the covenantal foundation of the mission of the Church.

First, I want to highlight an aspect of the transition to the New Covenant that is often overlooked or missed but which is absolutely critical, the idea of covenant citizenship. I will show that the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant involves a change in the requirements for citizenship in Israel.

Most Christians are familiar with what was required to be an Israelite in the Old Covenant (circumcision, temple rites, etc.). And most Christians are familiar with what it means to be a Christian — we must have the “faith of Abraham” (Ro. 4:16). But many Christians are not aware that being a Christian involves covenantal citizenship. Recall that in the New Covenant, the gentiles are “grafted in” (Ro. 11:17), but the question at hand is, “Grafted into what?”.

Paul talks about New Covenant citizenship in Ephesians 2:19 saying to the Ephesian believers, “you are now fellow citizens with God’s people”. What Paul is talking about here is membership in the New Covenant.

I will show that the New Covenant was made with Israel and Judah and that the terms of citizenship in Israel in the New Covenant are different than belonging to Israel in the Old Covenant, and that membership in the New Covenant requires being “grafted into Israel”. On this basis, I will explain, and this is very important, how “Israel” continues as a “nation” in the New Covenant, a nation whose citizens who have the faith of Abraham and circumcised hearts. This has huge implications for understanding the mission of the Church as it is portrayed in the Psalms and the Prophets.

Second, I will show that God’s stated purpose in the New Covenant is primarily God-centered and historical rather than man-centered and eternal. Of course, the New Covenant has eternal implications, but I will show that God’s actual stated reasons for instituting the New Covenant are primarily historical because they focus on the obedience of God’s people to His law in history (i.e., prior to the second coming of Christ and the final judgment).

Third, I will show that rightly recognizing God’s people as “citizens of Israel in the New Covenant” is essential to rightly understanding prophesy in the Old Testament about Israel such that a given passage of prophesy about “Israel” in the Old Testament might refer to Israel while under the Old Covenant or Israel under the New Covenant. The context and covenant markers guide our understanding. One such marker of the New Covenant, for instance, is circumcision of the heart rather than physical circumcision. Such language from the Old Testament (for example, Deut. 30:6) about the New Covenant is picked up by New Testament writers (for example, Ro. 2:29) regarding the New Covenant. So, let’s jump in…

Most Christians understand the Church itself to be a creature of the New Covenant, and rightly so, but what does that mean? And what has happened to Israel? As we will see in a moment, the New Covenant was made with Israel and Judah rather than with the Church, per se. So, how do we understand this change and transition?

To understand the nature and purpose of the transition, we should begin with the question, “Why was there a New Covenant?”. Jeremiah 31 is the first place where the term “New Covenant” is explicitly mentioned so it is a good place to start. In Jeremiah 31:31-32, God says that He will make a New Covenant with Israel and Judah because Israel was unfaithful under the Old Covenant.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:31-32)

Similarly, in Ezekiel 36, God says that He will bring times of restoration to Israel. In v. 26 He says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.” But He makes it clear that Israel has not been faithful and that the New Covenant is not for the sake of Israel but for the sake of proving the holiness of His Name in the earth.

22 “Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. 23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.”

In both Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36 we see that in the New Covenant God is going to indwell His people in a new, more effectual way for the sake of His Name and His glory in the earth. In fact, God says that He will move within His people to “cause them” to obey Him (Ezek. 36:27) and that He will “prove Himself holy” to the nations of the world through His people.

The implications of this purpose are far-reaching. God says that His primary motive and goal in the New Covenant is not “eternal” (though it includes eternal realities also) but rather “historical”. He says that He is jealous and concerned about what happens in history. His name and the power of His word are at stake. And He will see His name and word “proved” holy in the earth in history. This is His stated reason for the New Covenant. This is profound and deeply foundational for our understanding of the New Covenant as the “charter of the Church”.

What about the coming of Christ? What about personal salvation? Aren’t those a part of the New Covenant? Yes, those are part of the New Covenant, but God portrays them as a means to an end.

Beginning with Abraham, God set forth His desire for a faithful people of whom He can say “I will be their God and they will be my people” (Gen. 17:18, Jer. 31:33, Heb. 8:10, Rev. 21:7). And in the New Covenant, He says that He will prove Himself holy in the earth through that faithful people. The advent of Christ and His kingdom is the power of God in His people to obey Him and prove Him holy in the earth.

This does not make His love toward us any less real or good. It simply means that history and eternity do not revolve primarily around us but around God and His purposes. Israel under the Old Covenant failed to prove His name holy in the earth. That is why He formed a New Covenant with “better promises” (Hebrews 8:6), including a promise that God himself would move His people to obey (Ezek. 36:27).

So, to summarize, God made a New Covenant with Israel because Israel had been unfaithful under the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant, Israel will be faithful. God says that He Himself will make the New Covenant effective towards its purpose which is to prove His Name and holiness among the nations.

Let’s look now at the transition between the Covenants and where Israel and the Church fit into the New Covenant. The first key point to note is that the New Covenant was made with Israel and Judah. There is no mention of the “church” in either Jeremiah 31 or Ezekiel 36 or anywhere else in the Old Testament for that matter. So how does the New Covenant relate to the Church?

The answer lies in two seemingly contrary themes that we see all through the Old Testament Prophets. Those two themes are:

1) Judgment and destruction decreed for obstinate Israel because of its unfaithfulness; and,

2) A future of tremendous prosperity, blessing and victory prophesied for Israel with the knowledge of the glory of God filling the earth.

Have you ever noticed this contrast or even been confused by it? Read Isaiah or Jeremiah and you will see each prophet move back and forth between language of judgment and future hope and glory.

There are many, many such passages. Let’s look at one quick example of these two opposing themes in Isaiah 65:6-9. Watch for the transition in verse 8 from judgment to future prosperity.

“(6) “..I will not keep silent but will pay back in full; I will pay it back into their laps—(7) both your sins and the sins of your ancestors,” says the Lord. “Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains and defied me on the hills, I will measure into their laps the full payment for their former deeds.” (8) This is what the Lord says: “As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes and people say, ‘Don’t destroy it, there is still a blessing in it,’ so will I do in behalf of my servants; I will not destroy them all. (9) I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live.” (Isaiah 65:6-9)

Notice the transition from verse 7 which decrees judgment for Israel’s misdeeds to verse 8 which declares that God will not destroy all of Israel and that some portion of Israel in the future will be His servants. This contrast is a central theme in Old Testament prophesy and it has everything to do with the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.

The resolution of this puzzle is in the nature of the New Covenant itself. We will unpack this further, but under the terms of the New Covenant only a portion of Israel (under the Old Covenant) will continue as “citizens of Israel” (under the New Covenant). Yet, on that same basis, “Israel” will continue as a nation or as an entity in the New Covenant.

Let’s start to unpack those statements by looking again at Jeremiah 31. After many aspects of the New Covenant have been addressed, God then speaks to “who will be a citizen” in the New Covenant. Remember that the New Covenant is made with Israel and Judah. But remember also that judgement has been decreed against Israel and Judah.

In Jeremiah 31:35-37, God declares that only if His decrees which govern heaven and earth disappear will Israel ever cease to be a nation before Him. Then in Jeremiah 31:37, God says:

37 “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel.”

In other words, God says that in the transition to the New Covenant He is going to reject some of the people of Israel, but not all of the people of Israel. Some will be preserved and Israel will not cease to be a nation:

35 This is what the Lord says,

he who appoints the sun
    to shine by day,
who decrees the moon and stars
    to shine by night,
who stirs up the sea
    so that its waves roar—
    the Lord Almighty is his name:
36 “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,”
    declares the Lord,
“will Israel ever cease
    being a nation before me.”

– Jeremiah 31:35-36

Remember the New Covenant was made with Israel and Judah. It would be a strange covenant if it included God totally eliminating the very people with whom He was making the covenant. God’s judgment of Israel for unfaithfulness on the one hand, and the New Covenant being made with Israel on the other hand, are reconciled in the fact that only a portion of Israel, a remnant, will continue in the New Covenant as the nation of Israel.

To understand the role that this remnant plays in the transition from the Old to New Covenant, we need to look now at Romans 10 and 11 where Paul picks up the reconciliation of these two seemingly contradictory prophetic themes. In Romans 10, Paul addresses the disobedience of Israel and the opening of the New Covenant to the gentiles. Romans 10:21 (the final verse of the chapter) says:

But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” (Romans 10:21)

Then, in chapter 11, Paul explains that even though Israel was obstinate and unfaithful, God is not going to reject them entirely. This is just as we read in Jeremiah 31:35,36,37. Instead, He is going to reject some of the people of Israel on the basis of hardness of heart and unbelief, but the remaining people who are faithful to God will continue as a nation. Let’s look at Romans 11, verses 1-5.

“I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: ‘Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me’? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” (Romans 11:1-5)

Here Paul says that just as God preserved a faithful remnant for Himself in the days of Elijah, “so too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” In other words, among the Jews, there was a faithful remnant chosen by grace such that God would not reject all of Israel. Instead, there would be continuity based on the faithful remnant. Israel would continue as a “nation”.

Note also the timing of this remnant. Paul says “at the present time” there is a remnant. The remnant does not refer to some future time. Rather, it is current. This is fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:35-37 that even though judgment will come to Old Covenant Israel for its disobedience, God “will not reject all the descendants of Israel (Jer. 31:37).

Who then is the “remnant”? The remnant includes those among Old Covenant Israel who fulfill the citizenship requirements of Israel under the New Covenant; that is, those who have the faith of Abraham. Paul refers earlier in Romans to what the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant looks like.

Let’s look at two such passages:

“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardlyNo, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit” (Ro. 2:29)

“He (Abraham) is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.” (Ro. 4:12)

Likewise, in Romans 9:3-5, Paul laments the unbelief and pending judgment for Old Covenant Israel:

For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised!

But then, after his lament, he says something surprising. He says:

It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” (Ro. 9:6-8)

Citizenship in Israel under the New Covenant has one criteria, the faith of Abraham. The “remnant” of Romans 11:5, who will continue in the New Covenant, are the faithful, God-fearing Jews of Jesus’s and Paul’s day; those among the flock of Israel who recognized the Shepherd’s voice; the beginning of the Church of Jesus Christ.

This can sound strange to modern evangelical ears, but consider that the gospel came first to Israel and that at Pentecost it was thousands of Jews hearing and believing; and that it was a “big deal” among the earliest church members when the idea was introduced that the gospel was going to the gentiles. The faithful “remnant” of Israel, those who would continue as a nation (Jer. 31:37), who had the faith of Abraham… that remnant was the beginning of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Paul goes on in Romans 11:17-24 to liken Israel to an olive tree. Under the Old Covenant, Israel had some branches that were faithful (the remnant) and some branches that were unfaithful. In the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant, the faithful remnant of Israel continues as part of the olive tree. The trunk and roots of the tree are all those people with the faith of Abraham who have gone before and all of God’s covenants which guided their way. The disobedient, unbelieving people of Israel under the Old Covenant (those who did not have the faith of Abraham), however, are branches that are broken off. Lastly, the believing gentiles are branches to be grafted in.

All the while, the olive tree, Israel, pruned and groomed by the Lord, remains, flourishes and grows. And the olive tree, Israel, does not cease to exist in the New Covenant. Rather the terms of citizenship or membership in the Covenant have changed, but they have changed in such a way that there is continuity for Israel as a nation between the Old and New Covenants.

Under the Old Covenant the marks of citizenship (circumcision, outward laws) could be fulfilled even by those without faith, even by those who did not have the faith of Abraham. The Old Covenant prompted and led men toward faith, but faith itself was not a criteria for membership in the Old Covenant. Under the New Covenant the terms of citizenship are changed. They are no longer merely outward but inward and are based solely on faith. Only those with the faith of Abraham can be included in the New Covenant whether Jew or Gentile.

John the Baptist heralded this change when he came on the scene preaching that the Kingdom of God was near. Matthew 3:7-10 says:

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:7-10)

Note also Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 21:33-45 (the “parable of the vineyard”) where he explains that the administration of the Kingdom will be taken away from the unfaithful of Israel and “given to a people who will bear its fruit”. This refers to the remnant and the grafted believing gentiles, in short, the Church.

One major ramification of understanding the identity of Israel in the New Covenant is that it helps us understand the two seemingly contradictory prophetic themes in the in the Old Testament which I highlighted above: 1) the judgement of Israel and 2) the glorious future of Israel.

The judgment of Israel refers to the judgment at various times and finally in 70 AD of Old Covenant Israel while the glorious future of Israel is properly understood as referring to Israel in the New Covenant — the faithful remnant of Israel plus the in-grafted, believing gentiles — in other words, the Church of Jesus Christ.

This understanding of the relationship between the Old and New Covenants and the continuing identity of Israel in the New Covenant provides a solid Biblical basis for understanding prophesy about Israel in the Old Testament. Prophesy about Israel in the Old Testament refers to either Israel under the Old Covenant (with its outward marks of citizenship) or Israel under the New Covenant. It is context and other covenant markers in the text which indicate how we should interpret each passage.

It bears emphasizing here that God’s relationship with mankind in general and with Israel in particular is always covenantal. The covenant identity of Israel in the Old Testament as God’s chosen covenant people hinges on Jacob’s (Israel’s) physical lineage from Abraham AND God’s express covenant with the people of Jacob made at Mt. Sinai. God promised to give the land to the people of Jacob but the covenant was conditional. God told them explicitly that if they were not faithful the land would “vomit them out” (Lev. 19:28). In this way, Israel, through repeated unfaithfulness lost the land. This was not their greatest loss, however. By repeated unfaithfulness in the face of God’s patience and entreaty, Israel under the Old Covenant “lost the Kingdom”. In Matthew 21:43, Jesus explained to the Pharisees using the parable of “the vineyard and the unfaithful tenants” that they were going to lose their special status as the chosen covenant people of God: “I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”

Thus, Israel under the Old Covenant as a historical, covenantal entity ceased to exist with the end of the Old Covenant. But at the same time, as Jeremiah says in Ch. 33:31-35 and as Paul teaches in Romans 11:1-5 (both discussed above), God did not reject all Israel. Israel does not, in fact, cease to exist as a nation. Rather, with the end of the Old Covenant and the advent of the New Covenant the terms of citizenship in Israel have changed such that only those with the faith of Abraham will be citizens of Israel. And this is just what we see transpired. Jesus came first to Israel and those with the faith of Abraham received Him. Those who would not were like branches cut off. But the earliest church was nearly all Jewish. Soon thereafter the gentile branches began to be grafted in.

Citizenship is one metaphor, the olive tree another. They refer to the same reality. And in both metaphors it is clear that Israel took a new covenantal form in the New Covenant due to the new criteria for citizenship — the faith of Abraham. Thus, Paul, in teaching the Ephesians about the end of physical circumcision with the end of the Old Covenant reminds them that they were previously “excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise” (Eph. 2:12) but that now they are “fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” (Eph. 2:19-20).

In this understanding, Israel’s covenant identity and the glorious future in the New Covenant is based on “better promises” (Heb. 8:6). The glorious future of Israel rests squarely on God’s promises and the power of Christ’s resurrection which is now at work in His people to disciple the nations. The Old Covenant was conditional. In the New Covenant, God is the guarantor of the covenant and the future obedience of His people. He promises that it will occur. Consider again Ezekiel 36:27 regarding the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Contrast this with all the language of the Old Covenant which is always conditional.

Lastly, I would circle back to God’s stated purpose in the New Covenant. I said that Jer. 31 and Ezek. 36 showed that God’s stated purpose in the New Covenant was God-centered and historical rather than man-centered and eternal. God’s purpose in the New Covenant involves God’s people “proving” His holiness, His power and His might in history thru His people.

The personal salvation of many people is part of that plan, but it is a means to an end. God incarnates His word in His people and He will see that word proved holy, powerful and effectual in history. Thus, God’s stated purpose in the New Covenant dove tails seamlessly and purposefully with prophesies in the Old Testament about a glorious, victorious future for Israel.

The glorious prophesies about Israel’s future in the Old Testament refer to Israel in the New Covenant. And they show repeatedly in a thousand different ways that God’s word in His people will bear fruit, that His word will do its work and will not return to Him void, but that it will accomplish the purpose for which He sent it — to demonstrate, to prove in history, His holiness, His power and His might.

And these prophesies likewise give us the contours of what that “proving” will look like in the earth. The work of God’s word in His people will usher in what the Bible refers to as a new heavens and a new earth (Is. 65:17). Just as God’s word in an individual renews and progressively makes all things new, so it will be with the church (Eph. 4:11-16), society and the world across future generations. Society is renewed by the power of the gospel in accordance with God’s law and bears glorious fruit.

Consider one such very simple passage:

“In days to come Jacob will take root,
    Israel will bud and blossom
    and fill all the world with fruit.”

– Isaiah 27:6

This passage refers either to Israel under the Old Covenant or Israel under the New Covenant. That is simple enough. In this case, we can ask a question. Did this occur prior to the end of the Old Covenant? No. Therefore it likely refers to Israel under the New Covenant. The context is a lament of Israel’s unfaithfulness and failure to fulfill her calling, “We were with child, we writhed in labor, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth” (Is. 26:18) and coming judgment, “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.” (Is. 26:20) and God’s frustration with Israel, “If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire.” (Isaiah 27:4). But even in the midst of coming judgment God reminds and encourages and promises that even though Israel has not been faithful to her calling that He is not finished — that one day the Israel of God will bring salvation to the earth and will be a faithful vineyard and fill all the world with fruit.

Consider another passage, Isaiah 65, a chapter filled with New Covenant images and promises. Note that in Isaiah 65 people are still being born, growing, living and dying. This is not in a far-off, perfected future after the end of this age, but in history where people live and die:

Never again will there be in it
    an infant who lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
    will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
    will be considered accursed.”

– Isaiah 65:20

Or consider Isaiah 49, an entire chapter dedicated to expounding the work of Israel under the New Covenant. Israel is the speaker in the first five verses of the chapter and he laments that although God intended to display His splendor through Israel, he had labored in vain and spent his strength to no account. Yet, God then says He is not finished with Israel. Instead, God says to Israel:

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

– Isaiah 49:6

The language about being a light to the Gentiles is a strong New Covenant marker. Likewise, in v. 8, Isaiah says, “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you”. But when is the “day of salvation”? Where in history do we place the time frame of Isaiah 49? Paul answer this clearly in 2 Corinthians 6:1 when he quotes Isaiah 49:8:

“In the time of my favor I heard you,
    and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

then says to the Corinthians, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

It is notable that Isaiah 49:8 is written in the future tense, but when Paul quotes it in 2 Cor. 6:1 he does so in the past tense. Why? Because Christ had already come. God’s help and favor and the day of salvation had already arrived.

The rest of Isaiah 49 then expounds the future course of history and the work of Israel under the New Covenant. It is glorious. Kings and queens submit to Christ. They act as foster fathers to believers and protect the Church as Romans 13:1-4 says they should. Their labor as ministers (Gr. “diakonos” Ro. 13:4) of God promotes the gospel of Christ and we see them bringing the sons and daughters of Israel to Israel.

Such an understanding of Israel’s identity in the New Covenant is the basis of so-called “post-millennial” eschatology which understands the incarnation of Christ and His victory over sin and death as the advent of Christ’s kingdom – the beginning of the coming of His kingdom to the earth. It begins like a small mustard seed and grows till it fills the whole garden; it grows like leaven until it fills the whole of the dough. (Mt. 13:31-33).

If such an understanding is correct, and I believe it is, then the Church is very unlikely to fulfill her calling until she properly understands that calling. I have traced out the lines of this understanding. I encourage and challenge you to keep and test and develop this understanding as you read the Psalms and the Prophets. This view will change the way you will read the Bible in profound ways. The promises of Israel’s glorious future are God’s promises to His people, to the Israel of God… in the New Covenant… the Church of Jesus Christ.

Resources About New Covenant Israel:

There are a variety of writers about New Covenant Israel the implications for our view of the Church and God’s purpose in history. But the person, I believe, who most succinctly deals with relevant issues is a man named David Chilton. He was a reformed pastor and theologian in the 1970’s through the 1990’s. He held master and doctoral degrees from Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, FL. I reference three of Chilton’s books here plus one by Roderick Campbell. Other authors include Kenneth Gentry, Greg Bahnsen and Gary North.

“Paradise Restored” by David Chilton is a relatively short, crisply written book which addresses many New Testament based questions and objections to a victorious understanding of God’s plan in history. A key point is that Mt. 24 and Lu. 17:20-37, known as the Olivet discourse, refer to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD rather than the end of history. Chilton’s teaching about how to let Scripture interpret Scripture in Chapter 2 is worth the price of the book (or read it free on PDF).

“Paradise Restored” – Physical book

“Paradise Restored” – Free PDF online

“The Great Tribulation” by David Chilton is a short work about New Testament passages which refer to the “end of the age”.

The Great Tribulation — Free PDF online

“Israel and the New Covenant”, by Roderick Campbell – written in the 1950’s this book explores the implications of the identity of Israel in the New Covenant in terms of the renewal of all things.

Days of Vengeance”, by David Chilton is a longer, exegetical commentary on the Book of Revelation. A key point is that much of Revelation refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD.

“Days of Vengeance” – Physical book

“Days of Vengeance” – Free PDF online


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