THE TRUE MEANING OF GOD'S COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM
By Rev. Ted Pike
30 Jun 11
Israel-first evangelicals believe God’s covenant with Abraham gives Jews today unconditional blessing from God, unconditional ownership of Palestine and rights to occupy it as a nation in disobedience. They also believe divine wrath threatens Israel's critics. But Scripture contains none of these promises! Nowhere does it say that God unconditionally blesses the Jewish people no matter what they do.
God first announced His covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3. In this and later affirmations, He established an everlasting covenant with Abraham in response to the patriarch’s incredible faith. This covenant is first spiritual. It applies to everyone who is the spiritual seed of Abraham by obedience (Galatians 3). But it is also physical. It promises a covenant land to an obedient Jewish race.
God has never canceled His promise to Abraham that he would father a vast multitude and that his physical, obedient seed will occupy Palestine.
Yet St. Paul says clearly in Romans 8 that apostate Jews have broken God’s covenant. They can’t receive God’s covenant promises because they do not hold up their end of the bargain: giving God the faith of Abraham. Consider:
Genesis 17:9, 18:19 and 24:4 say Abraham’s seed must keep the covenant through obedience.
Genesis 17:14 says covenant breaking means being cut off.
Genesis 17:19 says Jews only find covenant blessing by keeping the way of the Lord.
Genesis 26:4 reinforces that the covenant exists because of obedience.
Deuteronomy 1:37 details how Joshua’s obedience empowered Israel to inherit the covenant promise of occupying Canaan.
Deuteronomy 7:12 is particularly definitive: “If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors.”
So is Deuteronomy 28:1: “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth (i.e. He will fulfill His covenant promises).”
These are just a handful of the many, many verses that spell out the conditional and reciprocal nature of God’s relationship with the Jews.
Not every Christian believes Jews still have a covenant with God. Hebrews 8 is cited by “displacement” theologians to say the Abrahamic covenant has been replaced by a “new covenant” which makes all Christians the inheritors of God’s promises. God says "I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel… not like the covenant which I made with their fathers…" (Hebrews 8:8-9)
Yet this passage actually is from Jeremiah 31:31-34, whose context makes it very clear that the old covenant applies to obedient, physical Jews for all time. Apostate Jews may break God's covenant with Abraham, but God will never end it. At Christ’s second coming, remnant Jews will repent and inherit its blessings.
God says it is easier for the universe to be fathomed than that the Abrahamic covenant be dissolved. Jeremiah 3:37 continues, “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done.” Jews may descend to deepest apostasy, losing all covenant blessing and their eternal souls. Yet God’s over-arching covenant with Abraham remains.
As Paul affirms, even the present depths of Jewish apostasy cannot frustrate the Almighty in His majestic determination to restore a believing Jewish remnant to obedience at His second coming. This is why “the adoption and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the law and the service of God and the promises” still pertains to the Jewish nation, says Romans 9:1-8. Yet Paul reinforces that not all who claim Jewish blood are “Israel.” Some “which are the children of the flesh are not the children of God but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Unbelieving Jews, he says, are "enemies of the gospel" (11:28) and are "broken off" (11:17). Taking his theology from the Old Testament, Paul thus opposes the prevailing American evangelical mentality that anyone with Jewish ancestry is worthy of blessing and non-criticism.
Christ confirms that unbelieving “Jews,” though physical descendants of Abraham or converts, are “liars,” pseudo-Jews who are actually the “synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 3:9). In fact, Paul denies that God’s blessing on the “seed” of Abraham ever applied to Abraham’s physical descendants! It only applies to Jesus and those who trust in Him.
So then, those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer…Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to His seed. He does not say ‘and to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one. And to your ‘seed,’ that is, Christ…And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:9, 16, 29)
Scripture clearly rejects all “Israel-first” misinterpretations of God’s covenant with Abraham. It says God only blessed Abraham and his spiritual, not apostate, descendants. Unbelieving Jews have no right to occupy Palestine as a nation in unbelief. They never did. They never will. (See, List of Conditional Salvation Verses) God’s curse is not on those (like the Hebrew prophets) who criticize wicked Jews. Rather it is on those who curse Jesus through their Talmud—apostate, pro-Zionist Jews. Similarly, God’s curse is on evangelicals who ignore God’s law and instead bid Godspeed to the synagogue of Satan. Such “become partakers of their evil deeds.” (2 John 1:11)
Like Calvin’s doctrine of eternal security, which promises heaven to “sinning saints,” so these misinterpretations of Abraham’s covenant promises are based on fleshly not spiritual criterion. Both Calvinist and Zionist heresies flourish because of the pervasive inability of the church today to comprehend that God is transcendently holy and will not bless wickedness, in heaven or on earth.
How can heresies this deeply rooted in evangelical Christianity and Judaism be ended?
Fear of a holy God who insists on worship and obedience in sincerity— without formulas—must be revived in the church. With a return to authentic spirituality, these heresies will automatically retreat. If the church cannot return, it will be devoured by Babylon the Great (See, "Babylon the Great" is Israel), a monster very largely of its own making.
Listen to an expanded discussion on this subject in our lastest Bible Study "The True Meaning of God's Covenant with Abraham" at our Truthtellers.org's Biblical Answers Page.
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative
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