Read the series.
In this final part I want to gather things together and summarize what has gone before. In the latter half of the full piece I interact with some other views. I shall not concern myself with running over that ground here. I shall only outline the major pillars of my position on the New Covenant:
- Jeremiah 31 is not to be thought about as definitive of the New Covenant. There are many other passages which, although they don’t name the covenant as the NC, are rightly considered as important OT New Covenant passages (e.g. Deut. 30:1-6; Isa. 32:9-20; 42:1-7; 49:1-13; 52:10-53:12; 55:3; 59:15b-21; 61:8; Jer. 32:36:44; Ezek. 16:53-63; 36:22-38; 37:21-28; Hos. 2:18-20; Joel 2:28–3:8; Mic. 7:18-20; Zech. 9:10; 12:6-14.; 59:15-21).
- None of the great theistic covenants of the Bible (i.e. the Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Priestly, Davidic covenants) have a provision of redemption set within them. That means they can never be fulfilled! Sin bars the way.
- However, the problem of unfulfillment is overcome by Jesus Christ in the New Covenant.
- Since it deals with sin and salvation, the NC deals with the promise of the Holy Spirit.
- Two key NC passages, Isaiah 42:1-6 and Isaiah 49:1-8, speak both to Israel and to the nations. Isaiah 42:1-3 is quoted by Matthew 12:17-21, and is applied especially to “the Gentiles.” He might have quoted Isa. 11:10; 42:15; 60:3; Jer. 16:19, and Mal. 1:11.
- Further, Isaiah 42 and 49 identify a person as a covenant who will bring salvation to both Israel and the Gentile nations. The NC is the “salvation covenant.”
- The Apostle Paul uses NC terminology and applies it to Christian redemption in Colossians 2:11-14 and Philippians 3:3.
- Not only that, but Paul explicitly says that Christians taking the Lord’s Supper are celebrating “the blood of the New Covenant” (1 Cor. 11:25). Paul also declares that his ministry is a ministry of the New Covenant in 2 Cor. 3.
- Jesus said that His blood was NC blood (e.g. Lk. 22). His disciples partook of the symbolism of it, and they formed the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20).
- Hebrews 7 – 10 names Jesus as our High Priest, which He can only be on the basis of the New Covenant, since that is the covenant He mediates as High Priest.
- Jesus Christ and the New Covenant are One. He is the covenant mentioned by Isaiah 42:6 and 49:8; as the Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29), He is the covenant “animal” that makes the NC with His own body and blood (Heb. 9:16-17). There is (and never was) any salvation outside of Him. Therefore, the NC is not to be viewed as an agreement external to Him Who made it.
- We must beware of impeding our own understanding of God’s Word by wandering away from Scripture to fragmentary pagan notions of treaty and covenant. We will be in poor shape to “hear” the Scripture if we fail listen with both ears and read with both eyes. This is all the more important when the matter under consideration is the oaths of God!
Paul Martin Henebury is a native of Manchester, England and a graduate of London Theological Seminary and Tyndale Theological Seminary (MDiv, PhD). He has been a Church-planter, pastor and a professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics. He was also editor of the Conservative Theological Journal (suggesting its new name, Journal of Dispensational Theology, prior to leaving that post). He is now the President of Telos School of Theology.