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Brought Near: The Relationship between the Gentile and the Jewish Covenants

Posted by Matt Postiff March 5, 2016 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Dispensationalism  Bible Texts 

Dispensationalists among themselves, along with covenant theologians, have debated the correct way to express the Christian Gentile's relationship to the New Covenant, and to the related Abrahamic and Davidic covenants. The answers range from two new covenants to full involvement of the Gentile in the new covenant at the expense of Israel, to participation in the spiritual blessings in the covenant. See Dispensational Understanding of the New Covenant: 3 Views: Regular Baptist Books, 2012 (available here).

Another way of explaining it is to use the language of Paul in Ephesians 2:13. He says that those who were formerly without God, without hope, and strangers to the covenants of promise were "brought near" by the blood of Christ. This seems to be close to the spiritual participation view which I have held. It is as if being 'near' lets some of the blessings of the covenants "rub off onto the Gentile Christian" or "diffuse over to the Christian" because of a new-found proximity to those promises.

It does not say "brought into" or "merged," thus maintaining a distinction between Israel and the Church. Nor does it indicate a duplication of the covenants as if there are two new covenants or two sets of covenant promises.

So our relationship to the covenants is that we are brought near. It is sort of simple, but the advantage of this explanation is that it uses straightforward Biblical terminology.

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