Confusing the New Covenant with the Old Covenant

One of several sources of errors in biblical interpretation is confusing the new covenant with the old one.

For example, the cults (Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses) are famously guilty of this as they emphasize that works are how we are saved. Mormons compound the error by emphasizing the importance of temple worship, having built magnificent “temples” in Salt Lake City and elsewhere―in which they conduct secret temple rituals. These are old covenant things.

Now hear me out. Aren’t dispensationalists guilty of similar infractions? Isn’t their hope of a rebuilt temple, along with temple sacrifices and rituals, obsolete old covenant stuff? Just some questions:

1. Didn’t Jesus replace the temple as the focus of our faith? Isn’t He the cornerstone (Matthew 21:42; John 2:19-21; Acts 4:11; Revelation 21:22) and believers are living stones of the new spiritual temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5)?

2. Wasn’t Jesus the once-for-all sacrifice (Hebrews 10:8-10)?

3. Weren’t all the promises of God fulfilled in Jesus (Luke 1:54-55, 69-75; 2 Corinthians 1:20)?

4. Wasn’t the kingdom of God taken from the Jews and given to the church (Matthew 21:18-22; 33-45)―for their serious sins and apostasy (Matthew 23:13-38) as well as their refusal to accept Jesus as Messiah (Matthew 23:37)?

5. Didn’t the old covenant end in finality in AD 70 (Hebrews 8:13)?

6. Isn’t the true everlasting covenant in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:28; 13:20)?

 7. Isn’t the Israel of God in the new covenant no long fleshly, natural, national Israel, but rather all believers in Jesus (along with a remnant of faithful from the old covenant (Romans 11):

John 1:12-13. The children of God are believers in Jesus, and not by blood.

John 8:31-47. Jesus explains to the Jews of his day that they are not truly offspring of Abraham, but rather are offspring of the devil.

Romans 9:6-8. Paul taught that not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel (“FOR THEY ARE NOT ALL ISRAEL WHO ARE ISRAEL”), and not all are children of Abraham. It is not the children of the flesh who are children of God.

Galatians 3:6-9, 25-29. Heirs to the promise, i.e. the true offspring of Abraham, comes from faith in Christ, not physical descent.

1 Peter 2:4-10. The new chosen race is the Christian church.

For more detail about the new covenant Israel of God and the fundamental change to God’s covenant community, see my article here:

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