In the previous chapters we looked at the change from Old to New covenant and the Seed which was already spoken of in the Garden of Eden. We saw that God made a covenant with David, so that we could have “the sure mercies of David” (Psalm 89: 20-37; Isa. 55: 3 ; Acts 13: 34)
We talked about the people in the Law Covenant and saw that there was made a second covenant between God and Israel over a sacrifice at Mount Sinai. Next came the
Abrahamic covenant telling us also that the Seed should be born of his line. With the promised one from God we came into the Gospel Age where apostles had to cope with Jews and non-Jews showing them that Jesus is the way to God.
We also came to see that the natural depravity of the flesh was a constant and insurmountable obstacle to the efforts at keeping the Law, because we are all so weak through the flesh. On on better promises than those of the Law Covenant (Heb. 8: 6) we can find Jesus as the covenant-victim, his death as its ratifying sacrifice (Heb. 9: 16) and himself, by virtue of that sacrifice, as its of the New Covenant. (1 Tim. 2 : 5 , 6 ; Heb. 9:15) his Priesthood correspondingly better than was Aaron’s. We saw Jesus died for all people, so also for those who do not belong to Israel.
But why does the Scripture invariably name Israel in connection with the New Covenant? The answer is
indicated in Rom. 11 : 17-24. The olive tree represents Israel’s favoured position as God’s people, individual Israelites being considered the “branches.” The grafting of the wild branches into the places vacated by the natural branches represents how Gentile believers during the Gospel Age become, as it were, members of Israel, in order to inherit the promise originally pertaining to Israel. By so being grafted in, they become “the Israel of God.” (Rom. 9 : 4 ; Gal. 6: 16; Eph. 3 : 6 ; Rev. 7: 1-8.) In the Kingdom Age, the people of the nations will associate themselves with Israel after God takes away the “blindness in part.” By thus associating themselves with the Jews, they will be
“built in the midst of my people”
— will be reckoned as Israelites, and thus beneficiaries of the New Covenant. (Jer. 12: 16; Zech. 8: 20-23).
There is, however, another way of viewing the application of the New Covenant. Since this covenant is to take away sin, and since if is the only one that can do so, every reference to the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ must be taken as a reference to the New Covenant. Repentance and remission of sins were and are to be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem; whence it is clear that the New Covenant provisions are and will be applicable to Gentiles as well as to Jews. (Luke 24: 47; Eph. 1 : 7 ; Col. 1: 14, 21-22.) The special significance of the word “New” would be to Jews with whom the “Old” one had been made; it would not be a “new” covenant to Gentiles, who had not been under a covenant with God. To them, that which was to Israel a “new” one would be the first.
The New Covenant is thus seen in its proper light, as an instrument fully able to clear away the disadvantages of sin, and to form a character of righteousness and holiness in its beneficiary. This character is to be endowed by God with everlasting life. Those who have followed in the footsteps of Jesus are to be exalted to joint heirship with him; those who did God’s will in former ages will be made “princes in all the earth;” those who obey under the easier conditions of the Kingdom Age will have human perfection and everlasting life on the earth, the difference between them and the Ancient Worthies being in point of time, and in the honourable position to be held by the latter during the Kingdom Age. The New Covenant says nothing as to the plane of being on which everlasting life acquired under it shall be enjoyed, and thus it is able to operate for the benefit of both the spiritual and the earthly classes.