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On Splitting Covenants


Posted by Matt Postiff July 1, 2020 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology  Dispensationalism  Eschatology  Bible Texts 

It occurs to me that there is a likeness between these two ideas:

1. Splitting the Mosaic Law into components and pulling forward (from the past) the moral component into the church age.

Left behind are the ceremonial and civil parts of the law, as well as the curses for disobedience.

2. Splitting the New Covenant into components and pulling back (from the future) the spiritual component into the church age.

Left "ahead" are the physical, agricultural, economic, and political parts of the New Covenant. Also left "ahead" are spiritual components that find no fulfillment in the present era (all will know the Lord, universal forgiveness for Israel).

It seems inconsistent to criticize #1 at the same time to accept #2.

It seems more consistent to accept both #1 and #2 or reject them both.

The problem with accepting both it puts Christians today under parts of two covenants--the Mosaic and the New. This has a somewhat suspect basis. I say this about the Law covenant because Paul writes:

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Galatians 5:18).
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? (Galatians 4:21)
But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." (Galatians 3:11)
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

So, Christians are not under "the law," nor are they under "part of the law." This is no major loss, for we have the Law of Christ as our directive, a law operational on the basis of grace and the indwelling ministry of the Spirit.

As far as splitting the New Covenant, the New Covenant is specifically directed to Israel, not the church. This is clear from a review of the primary passage:

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

Note the phrase "I will make with the house of Israel."

Finally, it does not appear to me that the New Covenant has actually been made yet. Certainly, its sacrificial basis is complete in the work of Christ. Certainly massive spiritual benefits come out of that work into Christians today. But those are not necessarily direct fulfillments of the New Covenant. They do not constitute the "making" of a covenant, where the people group to be covenanted has offered no agreement to the terms of the covenant. In fact, most of the terms of the covenant (and some could argue all of its terms) remain unfulfilled.

The prophet above says that the time of the making of the covenant is "after those days." Jeremiah is clear that those days were "coming" future to his writing.

"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- (Jeremiah 31:31)

According to Ezekiel 20:35-37, this will happen during the eschaton:

"And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face...I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant (Ezekiel 20:35, 37)

This has not happened yet.

The most accurate viewpoint, as I understand it, is to keep both the Law and New Covenants whole, not splitting them such that some terms of one or the other, or both, fall upon the church.

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