The New Covenant rests upon the sacrifice of Christ and secures the eternal blessedness under the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal. 3:13-29), of all who believe.
Among the reasons supporting this interpretation are the following: (a) The normal way of interpreting the several uses of the expression “the new covenant” is to refer them to the covenant, rather than to posit two distinct covenants with the same name (and apparently with the same or at least very similar contents).
(b) The author is writing to Christians when he mentions the new covenant. It is granted that they are Jewish Christians, but the fact remains that they are Christians.
(c) To assign arbitrarily the references to the new covenant to Israel exclusively in some cases and to the New Testament church exclusively in other cases so as to imply the existence of two new covenants encounters difficulty at Hebrews 12:23, 24, where both the church (“church of the firstborn”) and Old Testament saints (“spirits of just men made perfect)) are related to the new covenant (not two covenants).
(d) Christ spoke of the new covenant in the upper room discourse (Luke 22:20), and the apostles who heard Him must certainly have thought in terms of Jeremiah 31. Yet they were being made ready for the church. Christ’s mention of the new covenant was a part of His institution of the bread and the cup, and this was understood by the apostles as intended for the church to perpetuate.
(e) The apostle Paul shows a clear connection between the new covenant and the church in his two uses of the term. In 1 Corinthians 11:25, he uses it in quoting our Lord’s upper room instruction, where the sense conveyed to the apostles must surely have been the concept in Jeremiah 31. At the same time Paul is using the observance of this ordinance by the Gentile Christian church at Corinth. In II Corinthians 3:6 he calls himself and his associates “ministers of the new covenant.”
(f) Hebrews 8 argues that the title “new covenant” implies a corresponding “old covenant.” The Mosaic covenant is obviously the old covenant insofar as Israel’s relation to the new covenant is concerned. If the church has a totally separate new covenant, what is its “old covenant”?
THAT IS A VERY STRONG AND PERHAPS CONCLUSIVE QUESTION.
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, VIEW 4 OFFERS THE LEAST HERMENEUTICAl PROBLEMS. IT ALLOWS THE NEW COVENANT AS ANNOUNCED FOR ISRAEL BY JEREMIAH TO FIND ITS FULFILMENT WITH THE NATION WHEN CHRIST RETURNS.
NAS Jeremiah 33:1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard, saying,
2 “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it, the LORD is His name,
3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
4 “For thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down to make a defense against the siege mounds and against the sword,
5 ‘While they are coming to fight with the Chaldeans, and to fill them with the corpses of men whom I have slain in My anger and in My wrath, and I have hidden My face from this city because of all their wickedness:
6 ‘Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth.
7 ‘And I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and I will rebuild them as they were at first.
8 ‘And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me, and by which they have transgressed against Me.
9 ‘And it shall be to Me a name of joy, praise, and glory before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear of all the good that I do for them, and they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’
10 “Thus says the LORD, ‘Yet again there shall be heard in this place, of which you say, “It is a waste, without man and without beast,” that is, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast,
11 the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, “Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, For the LORD is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting”; and of those who bring a thank offering into the house of the LORD. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,’ says the LORD.
12 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘There shall again be in this place which is waste, without man or beast, and in all its cities, a habitation of shepherds who rest their flocks.
13 ‘In the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland, in the cities of the Negev, in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, the flocks shall again pass under the hands of the one who numbers them,’ says the LORD.
14 ‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
15 ‘In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.
16 ‘In those days Judah shall be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she shall be called: the LORD is our righteousness.’
17 “For thus says the LORD, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel;
18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to prepare sacrifices continually.'”
19 And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
20 “Thus says the LORD, ‘If you can break My covenant for the day, and My covenant for the night, so that day and night will not be at their appointed time,
21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levitical priests, My ministers.
22 ‘As the host of heaven cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.'”
23 And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
24 “Have you not observed what this people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families which the LORD chose, He has rejected them’? Thus they despise My people, no longer are they as a nation in their sight.
25 “Thus says the LORD, ‘If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established,
26 then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.'”
AT THE SAME TIME IT RECOGNIZES THAT AFTER THE ANALOGY OF THE ABRAHAMIC, IN WHICH PRESENTS BELIEVERS THROUGH THEIR UNION WITH CHRIST (THE “SEED” OF ABRAHAM, GALATIANS 3:1O GOD) ENJOY GOD’S BLESSING AS “ABRAHAM‘S SEED”…
NAS Galatians 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
EVEN THOUGH THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT WILL NOT FIND ITS COMPLETE FULFILMENT UNTIL THE MILLENNIUM, SO CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS DEPEND FOR THEIR BLESSING UPON THE THE BLOOD OF CHRIST WHICH INSTITUTED THE NEW COVENANT. Romans 11:7 ff. depicts the same truth as Gentiles believers are described as grafted into the good olive tree (and at present the natural branches-Israel-are broken off).
NAS Romans 11:17-24 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”
20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
I WILL DOUBTLESS HAVE MUCH MORE TO SAY ABOUT HEBREWS 8 BEFORE MY HEBREWS BLOG FINALLY CONCLUDES BUT FOR NOW, PLEASE ALLOW ME TO USE THE OPPORTUNITY AFFORDED BY THE CONCLUSION OF CHAPTER 8 AND ITS PROMINENT EMPHASIS OF JEREMIAH’S NEW COVENANT PROPHECY TO CLARIFY MY PERSONAL POSITION. IN SPITE OF ADMITTEDLY LEANING THEOLOGICALLY TOWARD THE POSITION THAT SUPPORTS THE NEW COVENANT BEING APPLICABLE TO THE CURRENT TESTAMENT CHURCH. THIS BELIEF SHOULD NOT BE SEEN AS CONTRADICTORY TO KENT’S STATEMENT’S ABOVE. IT WOULD BE TRUE TO SAY THAT MY LENGTHY STUDY OF THE NEW COVENANT BEGAN AT ISAIAH 33, AND IS MORE THAN LIKELY TO END THE SAME CUMULATIVE PLACE INCLUDING OF COURSE THE BOOK OF HEBREWS.
– Professor Thomas A. Rohm