Archive for May 19, 2010

Israel’s Covenants

May 19, 2010

That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12).

Paul tells us here that the “covenants of promise” belonged to the “Commonwealth of Israel,” and that those outside of that nation were strangers to them.

Israel’s earthy calling was confirmed in a series of covenants that God made with them. These covenants were national in nature. Israel was chosen by God to be His servant-Nation on the earth.

But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob [after whom the nation is named – God changing his name to “Israel”] whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend (Isaiah 41:8).

Yet now hear, O Jacob My servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen (Isaiah 44:1).

Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for you are My servant: I have formed you; you are My servant: O Israel, you shall not be forgotten of Me (Isaiah 44:21).

For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name: I have surnamed you, though you have not known Me (Isaiah 45:4).

You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified (Isaiah 49:3).

Three things are needed to have a nation:

(1) a people
(2) a government
(3) a land

These three are all provided for in the covenants which were made with Israel; and indeed the covenants in Scripture did belong to Israel.

Who are Israelites; to whom pertains … the covenants … (Romans 9:4).

Covenants are one of the more important subjects of Jewish Scripture. One’s view of the covenants will determine one’s view of the rest of Scripture, therefore affecting one’s walk as a believer.

Just what is a covenant? A covenant is an agreement between parties, in this case between God and Israel. Israel’s covenants begin with what some term as “the Abrahamic Covenant,” which was in fact a series of covenants. They were a declaration of God’s earthly purpose. They were the basis and foundation of National Israel. The original covenant was laid forth in Genesis 12:1-3, and it was confirmed and amplified in Genesis 12:6-7; 13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-18.

The nature of the Abrahamic covenants were national. These covenants were about a national people with their geographical boundaries. They dealt with who the citizens of this nation were, and with their divine land-grant. This grant was given by covenant from the hand of “the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth (Genesis 14:22). “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (Psalm 24:1, c.f. Exodus 9:29), therefore He can give it to whomever He chooses. He chose to give Israel a very specific area of land mass. In Genesis 15:18 the borders are generally given: “the river of Egypt” – the Nile, and “the great river, the Euphrates.” 430 years later God confirmed these “covenants of promise” through Moses (this is sometimes referred to as “the Palestinian Covenant” – Deuteronomy 10:11; 28:1-2, 15, 36-37). This covenant gave the specific details of Israel’s national borders.

Numbers 34:1-15

a) Southern Border (:3-5)
b) Western Border (:6)
c) Northern Border (:7-9)
d) Eastern Border (:10-12)

The Jewish covenants given to the “Commonwealth of Israel” were not idle “Covenants of Promise.” These are real promises from God. One needs to be extremely careful that they are not “wise in your own conceits.” Israel’s current state of partial blindness is only temporary. This judicial blindness is the decree of God “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”

For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written,

There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob [Israel]: For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as you in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:25-33).

One day, when God is done with the Gentiles and their vanity, He will restore National Israel, and she will fully possess her borders in the righteousness of God.

But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions (Obadiah 1:17).

And I will turn back the captivity of My people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, says the Lord your God (Amos 9:14-15).

“Therefore fear not, O My servant Jacob,” says the LORD; “neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save you from afar and your seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid” (Jeremiah 30:10).

When I shall have gathered the House of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to My servant Jacob (Ezekiel 28:25).

There will be a national divine restoration of Israel. This will not be accomplished under the power or authority of the United Nations, or any other human instrumentality. Rather, it will be accomplished by the hand of God under the power of the New Covenant (c.f. Jeremiah 31:31-40; 33:7, 14-16; Ezekiel 36:24-30, 35-37; 37:1-14, 21:28; Amos 9:11-15; Zephaniah 3:14-20).

Among other things this restoration will include:

Restoration of Israel’s Judges – Isaiah 1:25-26
Restoration of Israel’s Law – Isaiah 2:1-4
Restoration of Israel’s King – Isaiah 24:23
Restoration of Israel’s Kingdom – Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-8
Restoration of Israel’s Blessings – Isaiah 61:6-9; 66:19; Zechariah 8:13-15; 22-23
Restoration of Israel’ Health – Jeremiah 30:1

God clearly is not done with Israel. The blindness that has happened to them at this time is (1) “in part” and (2) only “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” Paul warned us against being ignorant of the mystery that was revealed to him, and thus in arrogance becoming “wise in our own conceits.”

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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