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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Feb. 5, 2008

  • 2008 Feb 05

Fulfillment of the Covenant

Although the New Covenant[3] is quoted in Hebrews 8, it cannot be taken to mean the New Covenant is fulfilled in the church for in Jeremiah 31:31, as well as in Hebrews 8:8, it is stated that the covenant is made with “the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” The covenant will be fulfilled with the nation with which the covenant is made. The time of the fulfillment of the New Covenant is eschatological as seen from the context of Jeremiah 31. In the section of Jeremiah 30–33 the setting is established in Jeremiah 30:3 where it states, “Behold, days are coming,” suggesting an eschatological setting (cf. Jer. 31:27).

Jeremiah related it to Israel’s restoration to the land (Jer. 32:37, 40–41).[3] “The sequence of events set up by the prophets is that Israel will first be regathered and restored to the land and then will experience the blessings of the new covenant in the land. … Fulfillment of the prophecies requires the regathering of all Israel, their spiritual rebirth, and the return of Christ.” The New Covenant is not fulfilled in the church, but in the future kingdom.

Christians should take courageous action to support the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel in all its parts; to comfort and pray for them in their trials and adversities; and to proclaim to all men that their election is irrevocable, and was and is meant to bring about God's redemptive plan for the whole world (John 4:22; Romans 3:1-2; Romans 9:1-5; Romans 11:29).

  • John 4:22  You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
  • Romans 3:1-2  What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.
  • Romans 9:1-5  I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
  • Romans 11:29  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

The promised restoration of Israel is to be understood as a two-phased process, encompassing a restoration to the Land followed by a restoration to the Lord, the God of Israel (Ezekiel 36:24-28; Jeremiah 24:6-7).

  • Jeremiah 24:6-7 For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. (This must be after AD70’s Diaspora)  7 Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.

  Reading Ezekiel 36[4] gives us a remarkably clear description of what has been taking place in Israel over the past 100 years. Interestingly, today's wildflowers on the hills of Israel have a lot to do with this promise and testify to God's faithfulness. This passage opens with God speaking to the mountains of Israel, lamenting their desolation and abandonment. This was caused by Israel's enemies who invaded the land to conquer the "ancient high places," and then boast about it. God did not intend that His land, Israel, would be inhabited and prosper under any other people, except the Jewish people, so it lay barren for generations. The observations of Mark Twain aptly fit the prophet's lament.

But, in verse 8, God had exciting news for the land: "But you, O mountains of Israel, you will shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people of Israel; for they are soon to come home."  

He went on to say that He would multiply the numbers of people from the house of Israel, they would rebuild the ruined and wasted cities, and increase their flocks and produce of the land. When this happens, He says, "You will know that I am the Lord" (v. 11).  

There is a connection between the fruitfulness of the land of Israel and those inhabiting it. We already read in Leviticus 25:23 where God tells us He owns the land, and He chose to give it to His covenant people - the Jewish people, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Only when the land and the covenant people are together in combination, do both flourish in accordance with God's divine plan.  

Ezekiel confirms that it is the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel that triggers the restoration of the land itself to its former glory - and more.

Their return and the land's restoration was also important for God's integrity, as well. In judgment, God scattered His covenant people for a season. Once scattered, Ezekiel 36:20 tells us that the people of Israel profaned the integrity of the Lord's Name and His promises among the nations, when the nations said mockingly, "These are the people of the Lord, and they had to leave His land."  

You see, in the ancient world, the pagans judged the effectiveness of their pagan gods by how well these gods protected them in their land and provided for them. In this region, they worshipped the god Baal, for security from invading armies and the provision of rain and food; and Astarte, the goddess of fertility, for offspring.  

Therefore, when the Jewish people went into exile and the land of Israel became desolate, the pagan nations mocked the God of Israel as unable to protect and provide for His people.  

For this reason, in Ezekiel 36:23-28, God speaks of a great end-time return of the Jewish people to their covenant land, which He would orchestrate for the integrity of His Name. This was to show the nations of the world that He is the living God who keeps His promises. To accomplish this, in verse 24, God says, "For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land."  

In addition, God also desires to restore spiritual fellowship with His people IN His land when He says in verses 27-28, "And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; and you will be My people and I will be your God."  

The process of this latter-day, prophetic move, as expressed by Ezekiel, is what I call the three R's of end-time Bible prophecy concerning Israel:

- A RETURN from exile to the land of their forefathers;
- The RESTORATION of the land, and then,
- The REDEMPTION and renewal of the spiritual life of the Jewish people in the land.  

Yes, this day is today! The rabbis themselves even refer to our present day as, "Messianic Days." Surely, we can see that the land IS being restored and the people have been returning for over 100 years. And, as the Jewish immigrants return, many from former communist lands where the worship of God and the reading of the Bible were forbidden, they are now learning of the Lord God of Israel in their ancient homeland, and a true spiritual renewal is beginning to take place. It is not all happening at once, but it is certainly in process.  


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