IS THE NEW COVENANT REALLY BETWEEN THE FATHER AND JESUS?!? OR IS WELTON JUST CRAZY?
Upon hearing the idea that the New Covenant was made between the Father and Son, some have had difficultly accepting this idea. There are numerous reasons that this conclusion is the most sensible, here we will work through the main points.
- No New Testament writer speaks of us as being in a covenant relationship with God. At least when Old Testament Israel was brought into a covenant relationship with God, they knew it was happening. In Exodus 19-20 (as well as Deuteronomy 5) we see the record of obligations and Kinship covenant ceremony ratified. Then in Deuteronomy 27 we see the people responding “amen” at length in regard to the Vassal covenant. Yet the New Covenant isn’t mentioned until the Last Supper, and Jesus doesn’t ratify the covenant with His disciples at the dinner, He simply announces that He will be making a New Covenant. There is no covenant blood-shedding ceremony, which takes place.
- The Ark of the Covenant between the Father and Son is in Heaven (Revelation 11:19). As we learned about how tribes had arks, which housed their covenants, here we find that the New Covenant ark is in heaven, where no earth-bound human had access. This is why Hebrews 9:11-28 tells us about Jesus going into the heavenly tabernacle to seal the New Covenant with the Father in His blood. If the Father were making a renewed old covenant, Jesus would have put His blood on the old Ark of the Old Covenant. And if the Father were making the New Covenant with the Church, then He would have to give us a new physical ark upon the earth. Yet because the New Covenant happens between God the Father and God the Incarnate Son, They keep the Ark to themselves and put His blood upon it once and for all.
- We receive our benefit not specifically by covenant, but by inheritance. “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance- now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” Hebrews 9:15
Jesus and the Father made a covenant, and then by marriage (Romans 7:1-6) we received all that Christ received by covenant as our inheritance through His death, and then He came back from the dead to join us and make sure we got by inheritance everything He willed to us.
- We see a clear example of covenant language in John 17:10, “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.” As Harold Eberle writes in his forthcoming work, Father-Son Theology, “The Hebraic understanding of covenant entails two parties joining their lives. The covenant means that what one person owns the other person owns. This is similar to a modern marriage in which two people share all possessions. If a woman has a million dollar debt before she gets married, her husband will have a million dollar debt after they get married. (Page 442-443)” Therefore John 17:10 is is an extremely clear indicator of Covenant Language between the Father and Son.
- In Hebrews 8:8, 10 we see a quote from the prophet Jeremiah regarding the coming New Covenant which he says will be with Israel and Judah. For the Dispensationalist mind, this is a stumbling block because this is read as physical-literal Israel of the Old Testament. Yet that is not how the writer of Hebrews uses the quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34. Although the quote is in Hebrews 8:8-12, I will abbreviate the surrounding context so that we can see what the writer of Hebrews is doing and why he includes this Jeremiah quote:
Hebrews 8:1-2 Jesus is a greater high priest
Hebrews 8:3-5 Jesus serves in heaven not in the earthly tabernacle, which was a copy and shadow of the greater reality
Hebrews 8:6 Jesus’ Priesthood ministry is far superior to the Levites, even as His covenant is far superior to their old covenant
Hebrews 8:7 If there was nothing wrong with the old covenant, He wouldn’t have replaced it
Hebrews 8:8-9 The human component was the problem with the old covenant. By the end of verse nine we see that the people were not faithful and God turned away from them.
Hebrews 8:10-13 He lays out the rest of what the New Covenant will look like
Hebrews 9:1-10 The old covenant system and tabernacle was a shadow of examples which pointed to the reality in Christ. The external only held until the new order came
Hebrews 9:11-14 Christ created the New Covenant with the Father by His perfect blood in the heavenly tabernacle.
Hebrews 9:15 Jesus is the mediator that received the New Covenant similar to how Moses was the mediator that received the old covenant, yet the New Covenant people are not partners, we are named as inheritors.
Hebrews 9:16-28 Jesus died to give us the inheritance (vs 16-17), then went into heaven to appear to God on our behalf (vs 24).
The fact is that the writer of Hebrews is pulling from Jeremiah to say that a New Covenant was coming, but then He spends his time disregarding the failed old system, which has been replaced by Jesus’ New Covenant system of perfect cleansing and forgiveness. To take the quote from Jeremiah and force a literal reading is to abuse what the writer of Hebrews is actually doing.
Another little known fact is that the New Testament writers understood Jesus to be the new Israel. Notice how the change occurs in the following three passages.
- “Then say to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” Exodus 4:22-23a
- “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” Hosea 11:1
- “So he (Joseph) got up, took the child (Jesus) and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:14-15
What does Matthew mean by quoting from Hosea 11:1 and saying that Jesus fulfilled this passage? Obviously he saw that Israel was a shadow, which pointed to Jesus who is the reality.
(These additions will be added to future printings of Understanding the Whole Bible by Dr. Welton)
PS. Thank you for taking the time to read my blogs. As you may have heard, Welton Academy enrollment has reopened for the Fall 2015 semester. (THERE ARE ONLY 76 DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER) You can go to WeltonAcademy.com to get in before our 2000 spots are sold out.