How I Learned I Was Wrong
What do you do when you’re teaching one thing and the Bible teaches another?
“Now, the New Covenant, that’s ours. That’s for us as Christians.” I can still hear myself speaking those words to my Bible study ladies several years ago as I finished teaching a class on the Old Testament Covenants God had made with the nation of Israel.
As I read Jeremiah 31:31–34 (the promise of the New Covenant), I could almost hear my voice waver when I came to verse 31. The words burned on the page in front of me: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”
Even as I continued reading and claiming the New Covenant for the church, I knew something was extremely wrong. The Bible wasn’t saying what I was teaching. I hurriedly finished without further comment. But later that evening, my thoughts returned to Jeremiah, and questions filled my mind: Who in the world is the New Covenant for? Israel? If so, what is the covenant God made with the church? Do we even have a covenant?
Later I told my ladies the New Covenant was for Israel; and when they balked, I read Jeremiah 31:31 to them again, this time with conviction. Thankfully, no one asked me to explain because I couldn’t have done so. I told them what the Bible said, but I was mystified by it.
Like most churchgoers, I had heard for years that the New Covenant is Christian. It’s for the church. But there it was in black and white on the pages of Scripture, telling me I was wrong; and I didn’t know how to handle it.
Spiritual, Not Physical
I avoided further discussion on the subject because I had no answers. No answers, that is, until I took a Friends of Israel online class and learned some surprising information.
The New Covenant is the foundation for the personal relationship we as believers have with Jesus Christ, but it also is a guarantee of future regeneration and blessing for Israel. All spiritual blessings are mine, and many of my blessings are the same as those promised to Israel under the Jeremiah 31 description of the New Covenant.
However, as a Gentile believer, I am not promised physical land, physical descendants, or physical blessings. Those blessings are unique to Israel.
Even after I realized the New Covenant was given to Israel, I still didn’t understand the covenant is way less about me than I thought. What is about me is the Mediator (negotiator, intercessor) of that Covenant, who is Jesus the Messiah—the one who redeemed me with His blood. National Israel does not yet have that relationship, which the church enjoys through faith in Christ.
One of the New Covenant’s main points for national Israel is that the Law, formerly written on tablets of stone, will one day be written on Jewish hearts. As believers in Jesus, we are covered by the blood of the New Covenant through our relationship with the Mediator and have been baptized and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who does a convicting work in our hearts. So, in a very real sense, the Law is “written” on our hearts.
As believers, we also have the assurance of forgiveness of sin (1 Jn. 1:9). The apostle Paul said Christ replaced the Old Covenant with Himself (Col. 2:16–17). We are “in Christ,” meaning we experience this much-better replacement. Clothed in His righteousness, we can boldly approach God personally, without fear and with unveiled faces—a privilege Israel never had under the Old Covenant (Heb. 12:22–24).
When the New Covenant comes into full effect during the Millennial Kingdom, God will pour out on a then-saved and regenerated Israel an abundance of blessings physically, spiritually, emotionally, and materially (Jer. 31). As the bride of Christ, the church will already be there, watching God bless His beloved Chosen People.
I still am not sure I fully grasp all the implications of the New Covenant for me as a Gentile believer. But this I know: When I sit in my church pew on the first Sunday of the month and prepare my heart to take communion, I not only remember Christ’s death, but I also wander back in time to an ancient people, a people chosen by God, the recipients of the New Covenant in which I have been made a partaker.
My heart almost bursts with anticipation as I think of the day when the New Covenant will be fully implemented and enjoyed—not only by the church, but also by the Jewish people, to whom it was given.
So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away (Isa. 51:11).
Now I can’t wait to teach my Bible study ladies all about the New Covenant!
8 thoughts on “How I Learned I Was Wrong”
In some of the facebook eschatological groups I’m, or was in having just recently left them, it astounds me how many think that the church is either the new Israel or at least a part of Israel. We are a branch of the tree, but the tree isn’t Israel, which is also a branch of the tree, the tree is Christ. For a saved person to believe and teach any form of replacement theology is heresy. Thankfully for them it’s not a salvific issue, in most cases. In some instances, they aren’t saved because they reject other foundational doctrines, but that’s a different story for another day. While they don’t and can’t lose their salvation, they can and do forfeit rewards for not being faithful servants and stewards of God’s words and ways. One told me the other day, he was a true spiritual Jew because he was saved. When confronted with the question of being a physical Jew he was forced to say he was a Gentile. I was compelled to tell him then that Scripturally he’s just a spiritual Gentile. A true spiritual Jew is a physical Jew who has accepted Yeshua as Messiah. We also call them fulfilled, completed or Messianic Jews. And as Walter Cronkite used to say, “that’s the way it is, February 23, 2022.”
Regarding your thoughts about where the church fits in the new covenant: I have learned and would like to discuss that the new covenant doesn’t really apply to the church at all. Please read all of Paul’s epistles regarding the “Mystery” from Romans to Thessalonians. The church is referred to as the “Body of Christ”. It seems that we are part of the “Groom” and not the Bride. Also, the rapture designates the church as to be with Christ (being the Head of the Body). What do you think?
Amen, it is just not taught, many false doctrines come from taking from Peter to pay Paul. This needs to be corrected in the churches as the people are believing the wrong gospel.
The church is not under the New Covenant. We are “children of the promise” just as Isaac was.
Isaac was born as a miracle child as promised. Before any Covenant with Israel was given, Abraham was promised that through him, ALL the families of the earth would be blessed.
We in the church have been blessed because God keeps His promises. Jesus said in John 4, “Salvation is of the Jews.”
So we too have believed the promise of God in the Scriptures written by Abraham’s people and we too have experienced a miracle birth into new forever life. Praise the Lord! We are not Israel but we are the Bride of Christ forever and ever. Jesus said, “Abraham saw my day and he was glad.”
We share in Abraham’s joy!
The New Testament explicitly teaches that the New Covenant has been enacted with all the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Heb. 8:6-7. (The Church.) And that the old Covenant has passed away. Israel is and always has been the Church. Peter states in Act 3:23 that all those who don’t hear that Prophet, Jesus will be cut off from among the people. (Israel, the Church). Under the New Covenant Israel the Church is expanded all over the world. Israel the Church is and always has been a multi-ethnic covenant people of God. Not some narrow racial or ethnic group. People were were either added to or cut off from Israel by whether they kept the covenant.
Thank you for reading the article and sharing your thoughts.
Hello- this is a long list freind David Batts.
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