by Jerry Shugart

Israel's New Covenant and the Body of Christ

by Jerry Shugart

Israel's New Diatheke as "Type"

Earlier I demonstrated that when speaking to Nicodemus the Lord Jesus employed a "type" in regard to the future regeneration of the "nation" of Israel to picture or illustrate the "individual's" regeneration. It is widely recognized that the history of the "nation" of Israel in regard to her redemption is a "type" which illustrates or pictures the "antitype," the redemption of the "individual" believer. The LORD has given us a picture of redemption where He uses the things in regard to the "nation" of Israel to illustrate this blessings which the "individual" Christian receives. With that in view let us look at the following verse:

"And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?" (2 Sam.7:23).

In a lecture addressed to Dallas Theological Seminary on the subject of Typology Charles Fritsch stated that "the exodus, the deliverance of a nation, becomes a type of the redemptive work of Christ--also clearly adumbrated in the exile--where the individual is brought to realize his own tremendous guilt and need of redemption" [emphasis added] (Fritsch, "Principles of Biblical Typology," Bibliotheca Sacra 104, 1947, 220).

Type: Promises for the Nation of Israel

The "nation" of Israel will receive all of her promised blessings through the operation of a diatheke:

"For this is the covenant (diatheke) that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" (Heb.8:10).

Antitype: Promises for the Individual Believer

All "individual" believers, even those who lived under the law, are saved and receive the promise of eternal life through the operation of the Lord Jesus' Last Will and Testament:

"And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament (diatheke), that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb.9:15).

Other Typological Connections

The author of Hebrews points out another typological connection, that neither the "New Testament" nor the "Mosaic Covenant" or the "New Covenant" can be made operational apart from a "death": "For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood" (Heb.9:17-18; NKJV).

We can see a typological relationship between the New Diatheke promised to Israel and the New Diatheke which is in regard to the Body of Christ. This typological relationship includes the fact that the diatheke promised to Israel is established on the grace and promises of God and therefore it is immutable. That can also be said about the Church's New Diatheke. The blessings of Israel's New Diatheke, including the future forgiveness of sins and the spiritual regeneration of the nation of Israel, picture the forgiveness of sins and spiritual regeneration experienced by the individual believer today. In both cases the New Diatheke resulted from God's own instigation and in both cases God chose to bind Himself to fulfill what was promised in each diatheke.

The design of these types is exactly the same design of the various types which are in regard to Israel's journey from Egypt to the promised land. Even though the types are not exact in every single detail, the broad outline is so clear that one cannot fail to see a typological relationship between Israel's future New Diatheke and the New Diatheke that is operational in the Body of Christ.

Traditional Dispensationalists Saw This Typological Relationship

Some of the earlier Traditional Dispensationalists saw a typical relationship between the two. In his book Progressive Dispensationalism Craig A. Blaising points out that C.I. Scofield taught that the blessing of the Spirit under Israel's New Covenant "typified" the blessing of the Spirit that is in regard to the Body of Christ: "Scofield...interpreted the New Covenant in the same manner as he did the Abrahamic covenant: literally it had to do with God's earthly plan for Israel; spiritually it revealed God's spiritual plan for the church (the blessing of the Spirit for Israel in Ezekiel 36 typified the church's blessing of the Spirit)..." [emphasis added] (Blaising & Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism, 28-9).

Blaising continues, stating that "Classical dispensationalists believed that the biblical covenants would be fulfilled for earthly people in the Millennium and eternal state. Since the covenants did not concern heavenly people (except in a typological or spiritual sense) it was not proper to say that they were being fulfilled in the present dispensation (except in a spiritual or typological manner)" [emphasis added] (Ibid., pp.29-30).

The typology of Israel's New Diatheke answers to today's New Diatheke, as Sir Robert Anderson would say, "As exactly as a key fits the lock it is intended to open."


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