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-ISRAEL’S FUTURE Revealed In Old Testament Covenants

Picture FrameISRAEL’S FUTURE Revealed In Old Testament Covenants


We cannot fully comprehend the seemingly mysterious passages of the prophetic future for Israel without first understanding God’s covenants, for it is in these covenants that God’s eschatological (end times) program is rooted. And God does have a program! To say that He is sovereign without the foundational assumption of divine purpose to which all things point leads only to an overly simplified system of cause and effect led by chance. There is no love, no joy and, most of all, no hope in such a universe.

But Scripture reveals a benevolent God divinely orchestrating a cosmic symphony to a crescendo far exceeding our expectations or ability to comprehend. He has revealed the melody of that song while simultaneously leaving the detail of its musical score shrouded in mystery. It is through prophecy, which takes up approximately one-third of the Bible’s content, that the Holy Spirit revealed the melody portion of His program for man with regard to sin and judgment, salvation and righteousness, the Church (the Bride of Christ) and Israel (His chosen people).

The following discussion focuses solely on this melody of God’s program for Israel and only on its eschatological implications for her through four Covenants: Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic and the New.

The Abrahamic Covenant

“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3 NIV

This covenant was given by God to Abraham unconditionally (Gen. 15:7-21) and eternally: “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come” (Gen. 17:7). It contained three aspects – land, seed and blessing – each of which is more fully revealed in subsequent covenants.

There are three beneficiaries of this covenant: Abraham, his physical seed (the nation of Israel) and his spiritual seed (believers in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile). Three promises were made to Abraham personally: to be made a great nation, to be personally honored by a great name and to be personally blessed both temporally (Gen. 13:14-17) and spiritually. “Abraham believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).

Three promises were also made to Abraham’s physical seed: to be a great nation, to be made innumerable and to have possession of the land, “from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates” forever (Gen. 15:18). The promise of blessing both to Abraham’s physical and spiritual seed are revealed by God later through the New Covenant.

The eschatological implications of these promises pertaining to the nation of Israel, which have never been completely fulfilled, are that, despite the divine promise of a coming diaspora (dispersion or scattering) out of the Promised Land, Israel must be: preserved as a nation, returned to her rightful possession of it as a promised inheritance, and receive spiritual blessings which will restore her favor before God as His chosen people. “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people” (Lev. 26:12).

The Palestinian Covenant – Deuteronomy 30:1-9

“When you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and with all your soul … then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where He scattered you.” Deuteronomy 30:2-3

In this covenant, God expands upon the land promises previously made in the Abrahamic covenant through Moses as Israel prepared to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. There are seven predictions made by God in this unconditional, eternal covenant: “I will establish an everlasting covenant with you” (Ezek. 16:60).

  1. The nation will be dispersed from the land for unfaithfulness.
  2. There will be a future repentance of the nation.
  3. The Messiah will return.
  4. Israel will be restored to the land.
  5. Israel will convert as a nation, professing faith in the returned Messiah.
  6. There will be judgment on Israel’s enemies.
  7. Then she will receive a future blessing.

The eschatological implications of this covenant are momentous.

First, Israel must be re-gathered from her world-wide dispersion – a process which God began with the birth of the modern nation of Israel in 1948 and continues to this day – partially fulfilling the 2500 year-old “dry bones” prophecy (Ezek. 37). Her land boundaries will one day exactly coincide with those described in Genesis 15:18.Second, Israel must witness the judgment of her enemies as described in Ezekiel 38:1-39:24, Obadiah and Revelation 19:17-19.

Third, Israel must be converted as a nation, accepting Yeshua (Jesus) as her long hoped for Messiah, with a repentant heart for having rejected Him.

Finally, she will continue on for eternity in peace and in harmony with God’s full blessings upon her – a future far different from that of her enemies.

The Davidic Covenant – 2 Samuel 7:8-17

“I will provide a place for My people Israel … I will raise up your offspring to succeed you … and I will establish His kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for My Name … I will be His Father and He will be My Son … The Lord Himself will establish a house for you … Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before Me.” 2 Samuel 7:10-16

This covenant, which God made with King David, was also unconditional and eternal. Just as the Palestinian covenant expanded the Abrahamic covenant’s promise of land, so the Davidic covenant expands the Abrahamic covenant’s promise of the seed – that a political kingdom will be established wherein the royal line of David’s descendants shall never cease and their right to rule shall never be forfeited. These promises to Israel through King David have several eschatological implications. In order for them to be fulfilled as God intends, two things must happen: Israel must be preserved as a sovereign nation with definite physical boundaries (Gen. 15:18) which establish the geographical kingdom in perpetuity; and the Son of David’s line, Jesus, the only rightful heir to the throne, must return bodily to earth to reign forever over this promised kingdom.
The New Covenant – Jeremiah 31:31-40

“The time is coming … when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel … I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people … For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34

God revealed to Jeremiah, His “weeping prophet,” that He will restore Israel to favor and blessing through a regeneration of mind and heart, forgiving her sins: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jer. 31:34). And He will impart into His people the Holy Spirit complete with all His ministries: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws” (Ezek. 36:26-27).

A new temple will be built in Jerusalem where God will dwell with His people, and a time of peace shall reign when all war shall cease: “In that day I will make a covenant for them … Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land” (Hos. 2:18).

“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isa. 2:4). This will be a millennial fulfillment after Christ’s return: “All Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion first; He will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them when I take away their sins’” (Rom. 11:26-27).

This New Covenant is never again mentioned in Scripture until Christ’s Last Supper (Mk. 14:24; Lk. 22:20). Fulfillment of this covenant requires that the nation of Israel be preserved, restored to the Promised Land and then, after Christ returns, God will forgive her sins. She will then experience a national conversion, which includes a regeneration of mind and heart, and an indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Implications For Us Today
While these four covenants have spiritual implications for the Church, which includes both Messianic Jews and believing Gentiles, Scripture is clear that these covenants were made exclusively with Israel, and cannot be fulfilled by anyone other than their promised beneficiary, Israel, without abrogating God’s Word, on which His honor rests. For nowhere in the Old Testament is the Church in view, and it remained a mystery until her birth at Pentecost and God’s revelation of His program for her to Paul (Eph. 3:1-12).

The immutability of these covenants rests in the “I will” of God throughout their declaration, requiring no conditions on the part of man for their fulfillment. They bind God to an eschatological (end times) program which prophesies a “new heaven and a new earth … and … the New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:1-2), which will be characterized by peacefulness, righteousness, knowledge of God, and a personal will in harmony with God’s – with Jesus, the Lamb, reigning forever on His throne in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22).

As God continues to orchestrate His cosmic symphony to its splendid crescendo, He has graciously revealed to us the glorious melody in the prophecies of the Old Testament covenants. And what a joyous melody it is!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dan Faust is a student of God’s Word with a special interest in prophecy. He lives and fellowships in Indianapolis, Indiana where he is employed as a pharmacist.

With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org

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