Who Are the Covenant People of God?

Ok, help me understand something.

I often hear fellow Christians speak of Israel as God’s covenant people. I understand that God made a covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai. We refer to it as the Mosaic Covenant.

However, in the New Testament, we are told that Christ has made a new covenant that is superior to and renders the old one obsolete (Hebrews 8). This new covenant is not for a nation, but for all who believe (Jew and Gentile).

So, are we wrong to say that the Jewish people today are God’s covenant people? Why or why not? If they are God’s covenant people, in what sense?

Note: this is not to deny the special place in history that Israel and the Jewish people have. They were the recipients of the Mosaic Covenant, Jesus Christ was a Jew, and I believe God has a specific plan for the nation of Israel in the future. But this is not the same as saying that they are God’s covenant people.

Your thoughts?

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8 Responses to Who Are the Covenant People of God?

  1. don says:

    We are all Jews. There is Jewish blood in all of us. And we are all Jews in God’s eyes. The distinction no longer exists, so the old covenant no longer applies. God loves us all.

  2. Ama Nazra says:

    God created humanity. Jehovah made 7 covenants with the Israelite people. (compellingtruth.org/covenants-in-the-Bible.html & messianicassociation.org/ezine17-af.covenants.htm). Some were unconditional, some humanity broke. Jesus’ God made a new covenant with humanity – not divided by race, creed, colour or other belief systems. (Athanasius said he reached to everyone (arms spread wide nailed to the cross) I agree with that). He certainly set us all free. That last covenant is the one we ignore today, but since it is unconditional, we are permitted to do that without being struck dead, plagued with boils etc etc. It’s basic description is ‘free will’.

    I’ve read somewhere else that everyone on the planet now has Jewish blood. We also have black, yellow and red DNA in our genes. We all have the SAME DNA with slight variations that create the different colours of our skin, shape of eyes, variations in hair type etc (caused by natural selection and the environment our ancestors grew up in). The only thing that separates humanity from itself is our belief systems, and like all beliefs the majority are probably not based on fact.

    Great question. Thank you.
    Love & Peace
    Ama

  3. Kelsey Pietsch (Peach) says:

    Hi Tim, Just read your post. No “Replacement Theology.” Two distinct people. God has a future plan for Jews and Christians. No “Dual Covenant” today. I address this in my blog. Kelsey Pietsch
    http://www.kelseypeach.wordpress.com

  4. Tim Farley says:

    Thanks, Kelsey. Not sure how to find the blog post you are referring to on your sight. Do you know the title of the post?

  5. sara harry says:

    All those who believe are covenant people. The new covenant just like all the covenants made was a renewal as I understand it. Granting anyone in who desires to follow God. I believe this to be true of even the original covenant where it included ‘and those who sojourn with you.’

    I believe the covenant is still with the Hebrews. I don’t believe the covenant really changed much just was finally fulfilled and at each new spiritual leader there was another renewal of the same covenant. Christ being the fulfillment doesn’t mean all will attain heaven (universalism) but rather that the final renewal of the covenant was the death burial and resurrection. Something that helped me understand this a little better (I definitely don’t understand it completely at all) was reading about the relation of the four passover cups to that of a jewish engagement ceremony.

    Anyways, hope that made sense. If not it would be fun to discuss it sometime.

  6. Tim Farley says:

    Thanks, Sara. I think we would mostly agree on this. I also believe the covenant made with Israel was for all who would believe. It was initiated through Israel, but was for the world.

    I also believe that the covenants build on each other. They are not unrelated and separate, but a continuation or progression. What we find in the new covenant is a fulfillment of what was stated in previous covenants (Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic). I do think that the fulfillment of things also renders previous things null and void (cf. Hebrews 8:13). A primary example of this is why we no longer practice sacrificial offerings. Christ is the fulfillment of the sacrificial system.

    In the end, I do not think there is a covenant with the nation of Israel that is any different than the covenant made with the rest of the world. Those who believe are the covenant people of God. Those who do not believe, are not. The privilege of Israel is in being the first recipients of the covenant, not in a special and different covenant (cf. Romans 3:1-2).

    So, when we talk about Israel being God’s “chosen people”, I pause because I believe most people are confused by what that means. Chosen in what way?

  7. sara harry says:

    Agreed, Though I do think there is something still set aside about Isreal in that I believe they will be preserved as a literal nation and that those who stand against Isreal will lose. I believe that because of people who misunderstand actually. I believe that if they do not see God’s hand protecting Isreal that it would hurt the gospel of Jesus Christ for many and cause unnecessary bitterness and angst. I could be wrong but I think that is the physical side of the covenant and that the Spiritual side clears up the confusion the deeper you look into it.

    🙂 great topic!

  8. Tim Farley says:

    I agree that God still has a special purpose for the nation of Israel in his future plans. I think it is an issue of what instrument God is using in the world though, not a separate covenant. In the OT, God used a nation (Israel) as his chosen instrument in the world to be his witnesses and proclaim his word. Currently, he is using not a nation, but the Church. In the future, I believe he will once again use Israel (albeit a believing Israel). But the message will be the same: believe and be saved. Same as it has always been.

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