There are many covenants in the Bible. The major characteristic of all Biblical covenants is that they are eternal. A new covenant cannot violate a previous covenant. If it does, the latter covenant is void. Let me share the major covenants of the Bible.
The first covenant of the Bible is the Edenic Covenant. This covenant between God and man commands that man was not to eat of the tree in the midst of the garden of Eden. The second part of the covenant was that man was to dress the garden and keep it. This covenant established that man had certain restrictions placed on him. It also gave man the responsibility of following principles of ecology. The conditions of this covenant are eternally in effect.
The second covenant was the Adamic Covenant. Chapter 3 of Genesis gives the details of the results of Adam and Eve’s violation of the Edenic Covenant. Breaking of the covenant did not do away with the covenant, it just caused mankind to enter a new covenant. The terms and conditions of the Adamic Covenant are just as much in effect today as they were the day they were given. Again read Genesis chapter 3 and prove in your own mind that this covenant is still in effect today.
The Noahic Covenant (outlined in the previous chapter) is a universal covenant to all mankind, both Jew and non-Jew. This covenant expanded and enhanced the previous covenants mentioned above. Again, it did not violate the previous covenants, but provided more guidance to mankind in his daily walk.
The Abrahamic Covenant establishes the Jew’s relationship to God. It is a covenant based on faith in one God. This eternal covenant is important not only to the Jew, but also to the gentile. It is repeated and referred to over and over in the Bible. Genesis 17:7 states, “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (KJV)
How long is everlasting? How long is eternal? A little insight into the meaning of these terms can be found in Jeremiah 31:35-37, “Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” (KJV)
Why have we been led to believe that Israel does not have a relationship with God through the Abrahamic Covenant? This is an eternal covenant. It is not based on Israel’s faithfulness to God, but on God’s faithfulness to Israel. Why do Christians presume to have the only avenue to faith in God? Oh, I know we like to quote John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (KJV) But consider the context of the passage. Yeshua (Jesus) is talking to his disciples about going to prepare a place for them. I believe this to be referring to the prophesied future in the coming of the Messiah when all nations are required to go to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, as stated in Zechariah 14:16-17; “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.” (KJV)
Christians like to latch onto the part of the Abrahamic Covenant which states in Genesis 12:3, “and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (KJV) This, of course, is a reference to the Yeshua (Jesus). If one accepts this part of the covenant, then he must accept all parts of the covenant that relates to the Jew.
God’s relationship to the Jew is far more personal than one may realize. Israel is God’s son! This is clearly stated in Exodus 4:22-23, “And thou shall say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and If thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.” (KJV) Again, in Hosea 11:1, it says, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” (KJV) Other passages also support this relationship. Far be it from me to say that God has cast off His son!
Even the New Testament makes reference to Israel’s unique relationship to God. A careful and thoughtful study of Romans 9, 10 and 11, will reveal a continuing relationship between God and Israel. The writer of Romans likens the Gentile believer to a wild olive tree when he says in Romans 11:17-18, “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” (KJV) Our roots are in the Jewish faith. It was a sad day when the Christian church divorced itself from our parent faith.
When the controversy arose as to whether the Christian had to convert to the Jewish faith, Peter stated in Acts 15:7-9, “And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the work of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” (KJV)
There is one plan of salvation. Salvation is based on faith in the Living God. The Christian’s faith is based on the belief that Yeshua (Jesus) died for our sins on the cross and rose victorious over the grave. The basis of the Jewish faith is the Abrahamic Covenant which promises them salvation, not by works of the law, but through obedient faith. Do all labeled Christians and Jews have salvation by saving faith? I hardly think so, but God knows.
My belief that all eternal covenants are just as valid today as when they were established is not just one man’s belief. The late Vendyl Jones has been espousing this belief for some time, with many following this belief. Even the Scofield Reference Bible, copyright 1917, in a footnote, written by a commentator, to verse 3 of chapter 2 of Habakkuk states the following: “In disciplinary government His ancient Israel is cast out of the land and judicially blinded, but in covenanted mercy the individual Jew may resort to the simple faith of Abraham and be saved.” While my faith is based on the faithfulness of Yeshua (Jesus), the Jews faith is based on the faithfulness of Abraham. Both communities relationship to God is based on faith. Neither group’s salvation is based on keeping the law or doing good works. We do a great disservice to the Jewish community by trying to persuade or force them into the mold the Christian has designed for the Jew to have a saving relationship to God.
This I believe!