There is a considerable amount of confusion in Christendom concerning the New Covenant. One common misconception is that very little has changed, except that Jesus has been added as the way of salvation. However, it is important to understand that the New Covenant is not simply the Old Covenant with Jesus tacked on to it! There is a change for the better under this covenant, which we dealt with at length in our online article, “The Better Covenant” found on our site at israelite.ca. That study is worth rereading again.
Ceremonial Moral Law?
Mosaic law has been divided into two, three, four or more separate divisions by a variety of Christian ministers and denominations, with different groups arguing over which categories are still in force. Some say that the “moral law” is still in effect today and the rest abolished, yet what part of God’s law is not moral? Are the food laws considered statutes and in force, or are they ceremonial and abolished? This was explained in our past study, “Bible Law, Ordinances, and Feast Days.”
Many Christian Reconstructionists advocate that the U.S. Congress adopt the Mosaic law as the secular law of the land. Many years ago as a young, somewhat green, pastor at our church Bible study, I suggested this, and a visitor interrupted in an anguished voice accusing me of wanting to make women sit outside the gates of the city during their time of the month. No, I don’t think anyone advocates that, nor do we want to reinstate stoning for a range of offences, or a number of other dire requirements that were imposed under the Old Covenant. Yet, I find that there are a few British-Israel type pastors around who insist that the New Covenant is not here yet and we are still under the Old Covenant. Is it hypocrisy that while teaching this they are not doing the animal sacrifices that were central to that covenant? Christ’s advice on this is appropriate: “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?” (John 7:19)
It similarly amazes me that a main sect of Judaism refers to themselves as “Orthodox,” implying that they follow the Old Covenant laws in their exact entirety. Yet they thankfully do not practice stoning, nor animal sacrifices, as well as a number of other obligations of the Old Covenant system. Like many (most?) Christians, they follow with Pharisaical exactness only those requirements that they choose to obey. Christ pointed this out in accusing them, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matt. 23:23)
A Respecter of Persons?
One of the most favorite topics in church sermons today states that “God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34) under the New Covenant, that the “middle wall of partition” has been broken down (Eph. 2:14) between Jew and Gentile, and that there are no racial distinctions. Oddly, another very popular topic proclaimed is that Jews are a race and maintain a privileged position over other races under the New Covenant, even while they reject Christ. This amounts to an evangelical caste system in which non-Jewish people are relegated to “the back of the bus.” The people in the pews never seem to see the blatant contradictions in evangelical theology. Israel was not chosen just to be chosen. It is true that Israel was indeed to have a privileged place in God’s purposes, but it would be because he would be using them during the Church Age to “be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors [of the judgments] of Israel; I will also give you for a light to the nations, that My salvation may extend to the end of the earth.” (Isa. 49:6 Amplified Version) This was an unconditional prophecy and promise of God. Who is the Israel He is using to fulfill His pledge?
Many of the largest evangelical ministries in America place an emphasis on their adherence to Dispensational Futurism, a latter-day cult theory invented about 1830 by Margaret MacDonald, a Scottish psychic, as detailed in Dave MacPherson’s book, “The Rapture Plot.” Dispensationalism is utterly at variance with the teachings of Scripture, and all began with a false interpretation of one short passage of Scripture in Daniel 9:24-27. You can better understand that passage in our study, “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel.”
Gary DeMar, president of “American Vision” stated, “A majority of prophecy writers and speakers teach that the church will be raptured before a future tribulational period. But did you know that prior to about 1830 no such doctrine existed. No one in all of church history ever taught pretribulational rapture…plagiarism and subtle document changes created the ‘mother of all revisionisms.’” Well, might Christ say of them, “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel” (Matt. 23:24).
Our Place in God’s Plan
The Dispensational view of Israel is stated in “A Dispensational Theology,” by Charles F. Baker. He states, “The Apostle Paul states that Israel at the present has fallen, has been blinded, has been broken off, has become an enemy of the present Church…” (ibid., p.527-528) This view that Israel is cut off and has no part at all in God’s purposes in this age is the antithesis of Scripture, which foretold that God’s Israel would be His instrument of evangelism and the spreading of the Gospel “to the end of the earth.” Therefore, the term, “Christian Dispensationalism” is actually an oxymoron, a contradiction of terms and impossible position. See our study, “Did Israel Reject Christ?” for a Scriptural view of Israel under the New Covenant today.
Why is knowledge of these things important? Under the heading, “Israel’s guilt and punishment,” the prophet Amos warned, “HEAR THIS word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt: You only have I known (chosen, sympathized with, and loved) of all the families of the earth; therefore I will visit upon you all your wickedness and punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:1-2, Amp.) We are His people Israel, chosen for service in His vineyard. A lack of knowledge of who we are in God’s plan and purposes will not prevent us from receiving His judgment for neglecting our calling and service. May we be found busy at the plow when He returns!