New Covenant Vs. Covenant for a Kingdom

The expression “new covenant” appears only once in the Old Testament. The scripture and its context is:

Jeremiah 31:27 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of animal.
Jeremiah 31:28 It shall happen that, like as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down and to overthrow and to destroy and to afflict, so will I watch over them to build and to plant, says Yahweh.
Jeremiah 31:29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.
Jeremiah 31:30 But everyone shall die for his own iniquity: every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jeremiah 31:32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh.
Jeremiah 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:
Jeremiah 31:34 and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Yahweh: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

Many fail to comprehend that how the New Covenant, if it is not active now, can be active on the new creature so as to result in sanctification (consecration). The terminology often used would either result in the thought that the new creature is not under the New Covenant, or that if he is under the New Covenant, then the New Covenant must be active now. From these two extremes other wrong conclusions are developed.

Nevertheless, everything pertaining the new creation belongs to the age to come, not this present evil age. When Paul wrote,  “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, they have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17), he was saying that the new creation is related to the passing away of the present evil age, the present heavens and earth, and the coming age when all things are made new. (Isaiah 65:17; Matthew 5:18; 24:35; Mark 31:31; Luke 21:33; 2 Peter 3:10,13; Revelation 21:1-5) That New Heavens and New Earth are not now, but belong to the “age to come.”

He will receive one hundred times now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life. — Mark 10:30.

Who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the world [age] to come, eternal life.” — Luke 18:30.

That “age to come” had not yet come when the book of Hebrews was written: “concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit,  and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come.” — Hebrews 6:4,5.

This last scripture shows that the new creature has tasted “the powers of the age to come.” It is in that age to come that the New Covenant becomes active to the world, but those who are chosen out this world become new creatures by the power of the age to come, making them belong to the day.

The “age” still is not fully with us, since the heathen of the earth are still being deceived by Satan (Revelation 20:3), and the promised blessings of the heathen are not now being seen. (Genesis 22:18) It is still true that God is choosing people out of the corrupted world as his sons, who then are no longer of the corrupted world (John 15:19), thus the corrupted world (Romans 5:12; 8:21; 2 Peter 1:4) is still in existence, and has not yet passed away. (1 Corinthians 17:31; John 2:17

Once the present heavens and earth have passed away, the New Covenant becomes operative through Israel. — Jeremiah 31:31.

Therefore the of prophecy of the new covenant, as such, actually belongs to the “age to come”, when it will be true that everyone who dies will die for his own iniquity, not the sin of Adam or parents. (Ezekiel 18:2,3) Likewise, the covenant is made with Israel and Judah. Some claim that the covenant is actually concluded with the Israel of faith, the Christian church, not fleshly Israel. If this were true, how is it to be said of the Israel of faith, that this “new covenant” is “not according to the covenant I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt”? True, a few of those who belong to the Gospel Age church have a Jewish heritage by flesh, but most are not. Most Christians have never been under the Law of Moses so that it could be said of them: “my covenant they broke”. This can only apply to fleshly Israel, not the Israel of faith.

Ezekiel 16 likewise depicts the same time, and the same covenant. There Yahweh speaks to Jerusalem (representing all of Israel), and compares her with her sisters, Sodom and Samaria. He speaks of the day of resurrection, saying: “And I will bring back their captive ones [from the captivity of death], the captive ones of Sodom and her daughters, and the captive ones of Samaria and her daughters, and the captive ones of your captives in the midst of them.” (Ezekiel 16:53, Restoration Light Improved Version, RLIV) Yahweh further says to them: “And your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, will return to their former estate [being returned to life]; and Samaria and her daughters will return to their former estate; and you and your daughters will return to your former estate.” (Ezekiel 16:55) To this day, the people of Sodom have remained in the realm of death. They have in no wise been returned to their former estate. This can only be accomplished by their resurrection from the dead, when they are to be raised in the resurrection of the unjust.

What does this have to do with the New Covenant? Yahweh continues to speak to Jerusalem: “Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.” (Ezekiel 16:60) Here he speaks of two different covenants, the one established with Israel in the days of her youth, and another covenant, a future covenant. This future covenant is not fulfilled with the Gospel Age church, as it cannot be said of the Gospel Age church that God will remember his covenant (the covenant through Moses) with them. Yahweh further says to Jerusalem: “Then you will remember your ways, and be ashamed, when you receive your sisters, your elder and your younger; and I will give them unto you as daughters, but not by your covenant.” (Ezekiel 16:61) The covenant made with Israel through Moses is again referred to, and Yahweh tells Jerusalem that this coming blessing will not be by means of that covenant. Again, we note that this is not speaking of the Gospel Age Israel of faith, since it could not be said to the Israel of faith that the blessings foretold would be “not by your covenant”.

And Yahweh states to Jerusalem: “And I will establish my covenant with you; and you will know that I am Yahweh; that you may remember, and be confounded, and never open your mouth any more, because of your shame, when I have forgiven your for all that you have done.” (Ezekiel 16:62,63) It should be apparent that the covenant being spoken of is the same covenant spoken of in Jeremiah 31:31. It should be further apparent that this covenant is established with the same Israel that had been under the Law Covenant through Moses.

Does this mean that the Gospel Age believers receive no benefit from the New Covenant? No, but we need to examine some scriptures to see how the New Covenant is applied to the Gospel Age believers.

In the Gospels, we find the expression “new covenant” used in Luke 22:20, where Jesus speaks of such at his last meal. He took the cup, and stated to his disciples: “This cup means the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.” So it is apparent that the disciples receive a benefit from the “new covenant” as represented in the blood of Jesus, which blood, Jesus said, was poured out for them.

So how does the Gospel Age church obtain these benefits, if the New Covenant is actually made with Israel in the age to come? They do this by being reckoned, imputed as justified, as though in the age to come, as though made alive in the resurrection day, counted as children of that day when the knowledge of Yahweh will cover the earth, and no longer children of this condemned age of darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:5) Those called in this age receive the firstfruits of spirit of the age to come. (Romans 8:23; Hebrews 6:5; James 1:18) The Christian’s baptism is a symbol of being baptized into Jesus’ death so as to appropriate the benefits of the death of Christ (Romans 6:3); this is so in that one receives the firstfruits of the spirit — as a earnest (that which in purchases is given as a pledge or down payment that the full amount will subsequently be paid) — the spiritual benefits of the ransom, the power of the age to come, in this age. — Romans 8:23; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13,14; Hebrews 6:5.

The holy spirit is given now as a down payment, or earnest of the inheritance (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5), declares that the inheritance in the kingdom will be much more than is now obtained through the spirit. The spirit is received by means of obtaining the powers of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5), in which age to come the holy spirit will be poured out on all flesh. (Joel 2:28; Isaiah 40:5) The believer today receives the “firstfruits” of the spirit (Romans 8:23) in anticipation of the coming time when they will be revealed to the creation and the creation will also be able to delivered from the bondage of present-day corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21) The church is a kind of firstfruits of God’s creatures (James 1:18), indicating the after fruits yet to come in the next age, when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9, RLIV) The outpouring of holy spirit on believers in this age is but a prelude to the actual fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy in the age to come. — Acts 2:16-21.

It is thus by partaking of that which belongs to age to come, the benefits of the New Covenant, that those called in this age receive the benefits of that covenant.

Now, concerning the covenant for a kingdom. This refers to Luke 22:29. Due to the way this verse is translated in most translations, most would hardly know that a covenant is being spoken of.

And I covenant unto you – as my Father hath covenanted unto me – a kingdom. — Luke 22:29, Rotherham.

This covenanting is evidently a reference to the Abrahamic/Davidic “seed” Covenant, which Jesus extends to his followers: Genesis 9:9; 12:3,7; 17:7,19; 21:12; 2 Samuel 7:11-17; 22:51; Psalm 18:50; 89:1-4,26-37; Isaiah 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Ezekiel 34:23,24; Daniel 7:22,27; Amos 9:11; John 7:42; Acts 13:22,23; Galatians 3:16,27,29.

Thus, directly, the church’s covenant is actually with Jesus, and through him the Father’s covenant is applied to the church. This covenant is not the “new covenant”, but is a covenant that existed 430 years before the Law Covenant, and which Paul applies to Christ, and all who belong to Christ, the sons of Abraham by faith. — Galatians 3:7,16,17,26-29.

The “New Covenant” covers the condemnation of sin in Adam, which is applied to all who are dying in Adam. The “covenant for a kingdom” is the everlasting kingdom, a rulership with Jesus, which rulership will benefit the all families of the earth in the future under the New Covenant, but not all the families of the earth participate in the covenant for a kingdom.

See our study on Jeremiah 31

See also David Christiansen’s study on Jeremiah 31


Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible – USA
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