COVENANTS

Scott Stanley
DTGministries.org

 

There is a powerful concept contained in Romans 11:25-27. This concept reaches all the way to the end of the world and gives us tremendous insight into the book of Revelation.
Romans 11:
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

If we are to grasp what the apostle Paul has written here we must first understand the basis for all knowledge and truth is love. To know God and possess His spirit is to know and possess love, for God is love (1John 4:16). Love must be more than just a bible verse. The following prayer is a petition for God to make it a reality in the human heart.
Ephesians 3:
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he (the Father) would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit (the Father's spirit) in the inner man;
17 (So) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in (the Father's) love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height (of His love);
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

This is a prayer that the believer might possess the fullness of God's spirit of love. Fullness is a big word in Paul's writings. He states the same concept concerning Christ:
Colossians 2:
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Christ possesses the fullness of divinity in love. There is only one God, the Father (1Corinthians 8:6). One major difference between the Father and Son is the fact that the Father has experiential knowledge without needing to have the experience. The Son learns by means of experience.
Hebrews 5:
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

For Christ to know the love God has for humanity He became a man and learned obedience through suffering. This learned obedience was an everyday occurrence but was manifested vividly at Calvary's cross when Christ prayed that His Father would forgive them, for they know not what they do(Luke 23:34). His prayer is a most perfect picture of forgiveness by the graciousness of God. The fullness of the Divine One was in Christ bodily.

Now look again at Ephesians 3:
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
The fullness of the Divine One will be in those who receive the love of the Father as He grants them His spirit to be in their inner man. This is what Paul is referring to when he writes, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in (Romans 11:25).

In other words, gentiles will receive the saving knowledge of God’s salvation of grace and be the first to enter into the fullness of God’s love. They will possess the spirit of the Father and have His name (or character) on their foreheads. They will stand with the risen Savior on top of Zion and be used of God to speak of the great love He has for Israel thus fulfilling the prophecy of Romans 11:
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to (literal) Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all (spiritual) Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.


The Old and New Covenants

In Hebrews 8:8-9 the old covenant can be equated with the giving of the law. In this study I only want to answer one question concerning the law; what was the purpose of the law?
Luke 10:
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

The purpose for the law was to teach love. Keep this in mind as we look at the prophecy concerning the New Covenant.
Hebrews 8:
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

Christ made a promise to literal Israel that He would make a new covenant with them. The new covenant would not be like the one He made with their fathers when He led them out of Egypt. This time He would personally give them the understanding of love. He would write it (“it” being love, the spirit of the Father) on their hearts and minds.

Paul writes and interesting fact concerning the New Covenant in Hebrews 9:
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator (or the one who gave it).
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

The New Covenant is not of force until the death of the one who gave it. There is no strength in it while the testator lives! Christ died to show us the love God has toward each person in this world. In His death he wrote the meaning of love on the hearts of those who have ears to hear. This covenant was given to literal Israel as a fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the giving of the New Covenant. When they can accept Jesus as the Christ they will realize the love of the Father and enter into the true meaning of the law.
Romans 15:
8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:


Other Covenants

There are two other covenants I would like to address. One is the Everlasting Covenant and the other is the covenant given to Abraham. The Everlasting Covenant is given to all of mankind who have ears to hear:
Isaiah 55:
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

The idea of hearing God through the conscience and allowing His impression on the heart to be your guide is offered to all of humanity. If we are quick to hear (James 1:19) God is faithful to lead us in the direction of peace. His judgments become life to the believer.

The covenant given to Abraham is explained in Galatians 3. The promises made to Abraham were also made to Christ.
Galatians 3:
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

The promise made to Abraham and Christ was, In thee shall all nations be blessed (Genesis 12:3 and Genesis 22:18)
This promise was given because God knew the gentiles would come into the truth through the hearing of faith.
Galatians 3:
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

The gentiles were never given the Old or the New Covenants. Salvation comes to the nations as they enter into the promise made to Abraham and Christ.

Gal 3:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
The law was not given for another four hundred and thirty years and cannot disannul the promise of life given through the Everlasting Covenant.

Summation

According to Hebrews 8 and Galatians 3 the Old and New Covenants were given to literal Israel not the gentiles. The gentiles will be first to enter into the fullness of God’s love. God will use them to deliver the meaning of the New Covenant to literal Israel at the end of the world. The book of Revelation paints the picture of how this comes to be. From beginning to end Revelation speaks of the perfecting of God’s people and how He joins together Jews and Gentiles right before the second coming of Christ.
Knowing God’s love is the single most important thing we can learn in order to allow God to prepare us to sound this wonderful truth. Love is the key to life and we receive it at the cross of Jesus Christ.