The New Covenant is only for Gentiles by extension? JMac on the NC

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ERK

Puritan Board Freshman
What is the biblical response to JMac's view here on the New Covenant. In sum, he is saying that non-jews benefit from the NC, but that it isn't made with them. The blessings of the NC come to non-jews through Christ, but the NC is directed toward Israel in a future restoration.

From JMac's sermon on the New Covenant (Heb. 8:1-13)

"Third thing, the new covenant is with Israel. It is with the Jews. And this is what I meant when I said this morning God has never made a covenant with Gentiles – as far as I can see, never will. The new covenant is not made with the Church; it is made with the same people the old covenant was made with. It is made with Israel.

You say, “Well, what are we doing?”

Well, we’re beneficiaries of the old covenant just like Gentiles could be beneficiaries – we’re beneficiaries of the new covenant just like Gentiles could be beneficiaries of the old covenant. But notice, it couldn’t be any clearer, “I will make a new covenant with the Church” – is that what it says? No – “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”

And the amillennialist – those are people who don’t believe in any kingdom or any restoration of Israel – comes along and says, “Well, when the Jews executed Christ, they forfeited everything.”

Not so, friend. God said, “I will make a new covenant with Israel and Judah.” That’s both sections of Israel. Right?

You say, “I thought the Northern tribes got lost.”

They may have gotten lost, but God knows where they are. They may be lost to some people, and there may be a lot of weird explanations about who they are, but they’re not lost to God. And God has made His covenant with His people. It’s an important note. You see, nowhere in Scripture do you read that God ever made a covenant with Gentiles. In Romans chapter 9, it says this, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants” – covenants between God and His people Israel.

You say, “Well, does that mean that we’re not blessed?”

No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t. God said to Abraham, “In thee shall all the nations of the world be” – what? – “be blessed.” In Genesis 12, when God established Israel, He made an unconditional covenant with Abraham to bless his seed and to bless the world through his seed. God said, “I’ll not only bless you, Abraham, I’ll bless the whole world through your seed.” And that was an unconditional promise. God didn’t say, “Abraham, if you will promise me to do this four times a day, and run over there, and do that, and do this, then I’ll do it.” He just said, “I’ll do it.” And then God said, “Well, now in order for them to receive this blessing, they’ll have to follow my standards.”

So, God set up a Mosaic covenant to go with the Abrahamic covenant, and the Mosaic covenant gave them the morality to go along with God’s desire that they might experience the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. The Abrahamic covenant said, “I’m going to bless you.” The Mosaic covenant said, “If you obey my laws, then you’ll get the benefits of the Abrahamic covenant.” But what happened? Israel kept breaking the Mosaic covenant and thus they kept forfeiting God’s blessing, and they’re still forfeiting it today – aren’t they? – by breaking the Mosaic covenant and by rejecting the fulfillment of the Mosaic covenant, Jesus Christ.

You say, “Well, then did God cancel the Abrahamic covenant? Did God just say, “That’s it, no more blessing for Israel”? He can’t do that. If God could cancel one of His promises, He can cancel any one of them, which puts us on pretty precarious ground.

And so, God says, “I know what I’ll do; I’ll just get a new one. I’ll get a covenant that’ll be able to do what the old one couldn’t do.” And so, He got the new covenant. And it could do all that the old could not do. And you know what the Bible says? Let me read you some thrilling, thrilling things. God wants to bless men, and He says, “If they would only follow My standards, I’d bless them.” But they blew the Mosaic covenant; so, they forfeited the Abrahamic blessing. So, God gave a new covenant. And when you come into the new covenant as a beneficiary - you’re a Gentile; you can experience all that’s in the new covenant as a beneficiary of it, even though it’s made with Israel. Listen to what happens, Galatians 3:7, “Know ye therefore that they who are of faith, the same are the sons of Abraham.” See, when you believe in that that Jesus Christ has done, you become a spiritual son of Abraham. And the Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in you and in me when we accept the principles of the new covenant. “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, ‘In thee shall all nations be blessed.’” Listen, “So then they who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

The Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in my life. And the Abrahamic covenant isn’t some mystical, weird thing.

You say, “Oh, I’ve heard about that. What does it mean?”

It just means God promises to bless. And it’s fulfilled when we accept the new covenant and we become spiritual children of Abraham.

Verse 14 says, “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.” It is through Jesus Christ that the Abrahamic blessing comes to us through the new covenant in His blood. We receive all the promised blessing of God. Listen to the end of chapter 3, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

You know, I have become a beneficiary of the Abrahamic covenant, though I’m not even a Jew. Because by receiving the new covenant, the promised blessing through Abraham has become mine. I’m not a Jew. I am only a child of Abraham by faith.

You say, “Well, when is Israel going to get in on this? I mean they’re not making it into the Abrahamic covenant as fast as the Gentiles.”

That’s right. They will. During what period of time does Israel get saved? During the tribulation. And then comes their kingdom. Romans 11:26 and 27 say, “So all Israel shall be saved.” Their day’s coming."
 

ERK

Puritan Board Freshman
Yes. John MacArthur. Sorry.

Also everything below my question is from the sermon. Looks like I didn’t italicize all of it on accident.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Basic to dispensational belief is that the Gentile-church age is parenthetical. That is, the time in which we operate is a "side track" to God's long-term pursuit of an Israel-centric agenda. "Progressive dispensationalism" has moved the typical perspective away from the idea of a "plan B" (as if there was a thwarted perfect will of God back at the First Advent, when Jesus would have taken an earthly throne if he wasn't rejected). But the basic idea continues: that the Christ should finally fulfill so called "temporal promises" made to Abraham and the Israelite peoples through an earthly completion of the kingdom. Hence, the millenial kingdom erected for that purpose.

This Israel/entho obsession, an orientation to the Temple on earth, refracts all the evidence taken from the Bible; leading to one such conclusion that we aren't technically experiencing the actual fulfillment of the New Covenant promise today, only some of its effects in a preliminary sort of way.

However, if we are experiencing exactly what the OT predicted for the New Covenant age, and this NT church age is the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham and the Old Covenant people--promises given using typological sign-language suitable to the perspective of the ancient times when delivered--then it's an error to think the New Covenant isn't the church's birthright.

Where dispensationalism sees two foci to the Bible--Israel and Christ--classic covenant theology sees one focus, just Christ. Dispensationalism makes a hard distinction between "Israel" and "the church," two very distinct entities. Dispensationalism has two peoples of God, or perhaps some prefer to think of it as one people, but two clearly defined categories--which practically amounts to pretty much the same thing; especially as this theology continues to proclaim a two-tiered earthly future as a thing prophesied (and thus necessary).

Covenant theology takes Eph.2:14, describing the "dividing wall" as having been "broken down" as a permanent reality: one that the death of Jesus was designed to accomplish. The whole reason (we allege) for establishing a specific national existence for a people, who began with Abraham's house, grew into the children of Israel, and eventually called themselves Jews (after the tribe of Judah), was for the goal of bringing the Christ into the world at the appointed time. He didn't come to be the Savior only of the twelve tribes; but the Savior of the world. See Is.49:6,

Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.​

That text is a window on the eternal covenant of redemption. Has he succeeded in the divine aim? The apostles proclaimed those purposes fulfilled, and were about the process of proclaiming that victory to the remnant of Israel, and to the Gentiles; for the purpose of gathering together the eschatological host, to fulfill that oldest of Abrahamic promises that he would be the father of many nations (not just one). The one nation that should come to being through Isaac would eventually be the one nation that should produce the Seed who would save the world. And so all the nations would be blessed.

Dispensationalists cannot have the church of the NT being "the Israel of God" in any sense (Gal.6:16). The homogeneous people of God of this age, comprised of Jew and Gentile, cannot be the heirs (through Christ) right now today of ALL that the OT promised. And yet, 2Cor.1:20 states that all the promises are in him [Christ] Yes and Amen. Dispensationalists do not really understand Acts 2:36-37. As the One True Israelite, Christ has inherited everything, cf. Gen.24:36. Everyone who turned away from him has been cut off and disinherited. Which means everyone, period. Only by now looking to him whom the Father has raised can there be hope in him of restoration.

The separate nation has served its purpose. The New Covenant is not awaiting fulfillment, except in a purely eschatological sense. There is no sub-eternal fulfillment that waits, that has not been quite worked out yet in time and space, which the church (now grafted onto the vine) is not presently possessed of. Whatever we're waiting for is that which arrives with the Second Coming, and the new heavens and earth.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
How about Romans 11:25-26? I know this is switching topics a bit, but both Sproul, the Reformation Heritage Study Bible, and I believe Matthew Henry believe this means all ethnic Israel will be saved. In the context, I would agree with them. However, I am amill and do not believe this necessitates any literal millennial kingdom or anything else dispensational. Calvin on the other hand, thinks this is the Israel of God, the church. I also agree with this term, just not sure it applies to this specific passage.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
I appreciate you posting this because it sheds light on a comment I heard last year from a "MacArthurite". Sometimes Calvinists that seem so solid can say unexpected things. I didn't realize J.M. was quite so "off"; I guess his influence is greater and worse than I realized.

Rev Bruce- that was beautifully and succinctly put- thanks for writing it out.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
How about Romans 11:25-26? I know this is switching topics a bit, but both Sproul, the Reformation Heritage Study Bible, and I believe Matthew Henry believe this means all ethnic Israel will be saved. In the context, I would agree with them. However, I am amill and do not believe this necessitates any literal millennial kingdom or anything else dispensational. Calvin on the other hand, thinks this is the Israel of God, the church. I also agree with this term, just not sure it applies to this specific passage.
The idea of a future wholesale salvation for ethnic Israel militates against Paul's words that there is now neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free: to suddenly save all ethnic Jews (how much mixture of other peoples is allowed before one is not considered an ethnic Jew? My children are about 1/16 Jewish) would be to roll that back. Ethnic Jewry has served its purpose; Jews are still being saved today, but there will be no elevation of the ethnic Jewish people above others again.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
The idea of a future wholesale salvation for ethnic Israel militates against Paul's words that there is now neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free: to suddenly save all ethnic Jews (how much mixture of other peoples is allowed before one is not considered an ethnic Jew? My children are about 1/16 Jewish) would be to roll that back. Ethnic Jewry has served its purpose; Jews are still being saved today, but there will be no elevation of the ethnic Jewish people above others again.
So, you believe then that Paul switches the context for one sentence to the Israel of God instead of ethnic Israel?
 

spunky01

Puritan Board Freshman
What is the biblical response to JMac's view here on the New Covenant. In sum, he is saying that non-jews benefit from the NC, but that it isn't made with them. The blessings of the NC come to non-jews through Christ, but the NC is directed toward Israel in a future restoration.

From JMac's sermon on the New Covenant (Heb. 8:1-13)

"Third thing, the new covenant is with Israel. It is with the Jews. And this is what I meant when I said this morning God has never made a covenant with Gentiles – as far as I can see, never will. The new covenant is not made with the Church; it is made with the same people the old covenant was made with. It is made with Israel.

You say, “Well, what are we doing?”

Well, we’re beneficiaries of the old covenant just like Gentiles could be beneficiaries – we’re beneficiaries of the new covenant just like Gentiles could be beneficiaries of the old covenant. But notice, it couldn’t be any clearer, “I will make a new covenant with the Church” – is that what it says? No – “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”

And the amillennialist – those are people who don’t believe in any kingdom or any restoration of Israel – comes along and says, “Well, when the Jews executed Christ, they forfeited everything.”

Not so, friend. God said, “I will make a new covenant with Israel and Judah.” That’s both sections of Israel. Right?

You say, “I thought the Northern tribes got lost.”

They may have gotten lost, but God knows where they are. They may be lost to some people, and there may be a lot of weird explanations about who they are, but they’re not lost to God. And God has made His covenant with His people. It’s an important note. You see, nowhere in Scripture do you read that God ever made a covenant with Gentiles. In Romans chapter 9, it says this, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants” – covenants between God and His people Israel.

You say, “Well, does that mean that we’re not blessed?”

No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t. God said to Abraham, “In thee shall all the nations of the world be” – what? – “be blessed.” In Genesis 12, when God established Israel, He made an unconditional covenant with Abraham to bless his seed and to bless the world through his seed. God said, “I’ll not only bless you, Abraham, I’ll bless the whole world through your seed.” And that was an unconditional promise. God didn’t say, “Abraham, if you will promise me to do this four times a day, and run over there, and do that, and do this, then I’ll do it.” He just said, “I’ll do it.” And then God said, “Well, now in order for them to receive this blessing, they’ll have to follow my standards.”

So, God set up a Mosaic covenant to go with the Abrahamic covenant, and the Mosaic covenant gave them the morality to go along with God’s desire that they might experience the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. The Abrahamic covenant said, “I’m going to bless you.” The Mosaic covenant said, “If you obey my laws, then you’ll get the benefits of the Abrahamic covenant.” But what happened? Israel kept breaking the Mosaic covenant and thus they kept forfeiting God’s blessing, and they’re still forfeiting it today – aren’t they? – by breaking the Mosaic covenant and by rejecting the fulfillment of the Mosaic covenant, Jesus Christ.

You say, “Well, then did God cancel the Abrahamic covenant? Did God just say, “That’s it, no more blessing for Israel”? He can’t do that. If God could cancel one of His promises, He can cancel any one of them, which puts us on pretty precarious ground.

And so, God says, “I know what I’ll do; I’ll just get a new one. I’ll get a covenant that’ll be able to do what the old one couldn’t do.” And so, He got the new covenant. And it could do all that the old could not do. And you know what the Bible says? Let me read you some thrilling, thrilling things. God wants to bless men, and He says, “If they would only follow My standards, I’d bless them.” But they blew the Mosaic covenant; so, they forfeited the Abrahamic blessing. So, God gave a new covenant. And when you come into the new covenant as a beneficiary - you’re a Gentile; you can experience all that’s in the new covenant as a beneficiary of it, even though it’s made with Israel. Listen to what happens, Galatians 3:7, “Know ye therefore that they who are of faith, the same are the sons of Abraham.” See, when you believe in that that Jesus Christ has done, you become a spiritual son of Abraham. And the Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in you and in me when we accept the principles of the new covenant. “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, ‘In thee shall all nations be blessed.’” Listen, “So then they who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

The Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in my life. And the Abrahamic covenant isn’t some mystical, weird thing.

You say, “Oh, I’ve heard about that. What does it mean?”

It just means God promises to bless. And it’s fulfilled when we accept the new covenant and we become spiritual children of Abraham.

Verse 14 says, “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.” It is through Jesus Christ that the Abrahamic blessing comes to us through the new covenant in His blood. We receive all the promised blessing of God. Listen to the end of chapter 3, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

You know, I have become a beneficiary of the Abrahamic covenant, though I’m not even a Jew. Because by receiving the new covenant, the promised blessing through Abraham has become mine. I’m not a Jew. I am only a child of Abraham by faith.

You say, “Well, when is Israel going to get in on this? I mean they’re not making it into the Abrahamic covenant as fast as the Gentiles.”

That’s right. They will. During what period of time does Israel get saved? During the tribulation. And then comes their kingdom. Romans 11:26 and 27 say, “So all Israel shall be saved.” Their day’s coming."
I've heard that he has changed his view somewhat from what is in His commentary and earlier messages on The New Covenant. He still is a dispensationalist of coarse.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
A clear look at the references to the New Covenant in the NT will show the NC being for the elect. Eg, the gospels refer to the blood of the New Covenant. As a Calvinist, surely MacArthur would not say the NC includes non elect Israel?

Also, MacArthur makes this an issue of eschatology. It is best to see it an issue of Covenant Theology vs. Dispensationalism. I would also say to MacArthur that Eph 1-2 clearly speaks of a one plan of salvation which starts in eternity past. Eph 2 clearly refutes the idea that there are 2 peoples of God.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
So, you believe then that Paul switches the context for one sentence to the Israel of God instead of ethnic Israel?
Paul is warning the Gentiles not to vaunt themselves against the Jews as a people, because God used the nation of Israel to bring the Messiah, and though the true Israel is no longer exclusively them with their Levitical system, there are still and will be to the end many ethnic Jews who are saved and part of the true Israel of God. He says in another place "They are not all Israel who are called Israel"--but he says here "All Israel shall be saved" I take this to mean that though the fullness of the Gentiles is coming in, that does not hinder the salvation of all elect Jews. All who are true Israel--Gentile or Jew, will surely be saved.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
Paul is warning the Gentiles not to vaunt themselves against the Jews as a people, because God used the nation of Israel to bring the Messiah, and though the true Israel is no longer exclusively them with their Levitical system, there are still and will be to the end many ethnic Jews who are saved and part of the true Israel of God. He says in another place "They are not all Israel who are called Israel"--but he says here "All Israel shall be saved" I take this to mean that though the fullness of the Gentiles is coming in, that does not hinder the salvation of all elect Jews. All who are true Israel--Gentile or Jew, will surely be saved.
Thanks for the response. I looked a bit deeper in between these replies as well. At closer look at the commentaries, they actually agree with the "all elect Jews" will be saved interpretation. I agree that with the surrounding definitions of "Israel" (including other Epistles) this appears to be the best reading. Sproul also points out that "all" in the Greek, does not function the same way it does in English (again leading more to the conclusion that all "elect" Jews will be saved rather than all jews without distinction. It appears only Calvin (out of the commentaries I looked at, I know he isn't the only one total) completely sets aside the ethnic component here and sees its only the elect. I have a hard time with that interpretation because the text itself for the last few chapters is dealing with ethnic Israel in the context.
 
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