Biblical Covenants Part 5

If God made promises to Abraham and his posterity and if the Theocratic kingdom commenced at Mount Sinai, can a nation have a kingdom if it does not have a land? When Israel’s time of wandering in the wilderness had almost been completed and Moses addressed them for the last time just prior to their entering the Promised Land, God established a covenant with His nation Israel.

Although it continued to build on promises God had made to Abraham earlier (Genesis 12:7; 15:18-21; 17:8), the Land covenant is a separate, unconditional covenant between God and Israel. Deuteronomy 29:1 clearly illustrates that there is a difference between the Land covenant and the Mosaic covenant. Fruchtenbaum (2005:31) identifies eight provisions of the Land Covenant in Deuteronomy 30:1-10:

  1. Moses spoke prophetically to Israel’s future disobedience to the Mosaic Law and the nation’s consequent scattering all over the world (Deuteronomy 29:2-30:1). All the remaining provisions of the Land covenant deal with different facets of Israel’s ultimate restoration.
  2. Israel will repent (Deuteronomy 30:2).
  3. The Messiah will return (Deuteronomy 30:3a).
  4. Israel will again be gathered from the ends of the earth (Deuteronomy 30:3b-4).
  5. Israel will occupy the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 30:5).
  6. Israel will be regenerated (Deuteronomy 30:6).
  7. Israel’s enemies will be judged (Deuteronomy 30:7).
  8. Israel will be blessed abundantly, specifically the blessings of the Messianic kingdom (Deuteronomy 30:8-20).

The Land covenant confirmed that God had given the title deeds of the land to His nation Israel. Even though Israel would be unfaithful and disobedient to God, the right to the land will never be taken away from them. The land belongs to God’s Jewish nation in spite of the latter’s unbelief and disobedience throughout its history. Enjoyment and blessings of the land, however, depended on Israel’s obedience.

The Land covenant was confirmed centuries later in Ezekiel 16:1-63 at a time when Israel had already been removed from the country into exile. Fruchtenbaum (2005:21) discusses Ezekiel 16 and highlights the following:

  1. God recounts His love for Israel in her early days (verses 1-7).
  2. God chose Israel and Israel was wedded to God, thus becoming the Wife of Jehovah wife (verses 8-14).
  3. Israel, however, played the harlot by becoming guilty of spiritual harlotry (verses 15-34), which necessitated her being punished by means of dispersion (verses 35-52).
  4. This dispersion, however, is neither permanent nor final. Thanks to the Land covenant, Israel would be restored to the land in future (verses 53-63).
  5. Israel was guilty of violating the Mosaic covenant (verses 53-59), but God will remember the covenant he had made with Israel in the days of her youth (verse 60a) and will establish an everlasting covenant, the New covenant (verse 60b), which will result in the salvation of Israel (verses 61-63).

Israel’s return to their own country in 1948 after being dispersed for almost 1 900 years is prophetically significant and is undeniably indicative of our living in the end times of this dispensation. Most of the Jews return to the land in unbelief, but by the end of the Great Tribulation, every Jew who is then still physically alive will come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is this believing remnant of Israel that will call out: “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD!” (Matthew 23:39 NASB 2006). Jews outside the borders of Israel at that stage will be brought to the land of Israel by God’s angels (Matthew 24:31).

God will restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6-7), yet for this event to materialise a representative number of Jews must already have returned to their land. This prerequisite is being fulfilled right before our eyes. What remains then, is that the King of kings must return at His second advent. When the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of David and Son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1), returns to earth, He will begin to reign on the basis of a particular unconditional covenant, which is the topic dealt with in Part 6.

Sources consulted:

Fruchtenbaum, A.G., 2005, ‘The eight covenants of the Bible’, Ariel Ministries, Tustin.

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