The Eschatology of the Everlasting Covenant
My dearly beloved brother Reggie,
> Some interpreters claim that this invasion comes when Israel is dwelling
> securely in the millennium. But this cannot be for two clear reasons: First,
> Israel is not saved until AFTER the invasion. Secondly, Ezek 39:26 shows that
> Israel’s transgressions continue to multiply during this time of security,
> whereas the scripture is clear that millennial Israel never again lapses
> (Jer 31:34; 32:40; Isa 54:13; 59:21; 60:21; 65:23; 66:22 et al). It is
> therefore manifestly a ‘false security’ that is in view.
Can you please help me to clarify this? I am still studying many things
with an open Bible, in prayer before the Lord. However, the use of
Jeremiah 31:34 in relation to millennial Israel confuses me.
In my understanding that passage is talking about the covenant that
Jesus Christ made with Israel and Judah at His *first* coming. Isn’t
God’s Law written on our hearts now by the covenant with Jesus? Or is it
not, and we’re waiting for the second coming for another covenant?
Hopefully you can help me with this passage, as this is why I do not see
Jer 31:34 applying to millennial Israel..
I’ll give first the short answer, and if time permits, I’ll add what I can. Like so many very good questions, this deserves much fuller treatment than I can give in a short space with limited time.
The new covenant has indeed been fulfilled in Christ, but not completely. To understand how the New Covenant is fulfilled, we need to understand its ultimate goal as it pertains to Israel. Only in this light can we understand the mystery of Christ and the church in relationship to the New Covenant.
The New Covenant, also called the Everlasting Covenant, envisions nothing short of the salvation of ‘all’ Israel. “And so all Israel shall be saved: … for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sin” (Ro 11:26-27). In the context of Paul’s argument, a future event is in view. It is based on nothing other than the covenant. Hence, there can be no doubt that at least something of the covenant remains unfulfilled where Israel is concerned. Whatever is understood of the phrase, “and so all Israel shall be saved,” one thing is clear: For Paul, there can be no final fulfillment of the covenant that stops short of this future ‘fullness’ (compare Ro 11:12 w/ 25-29). We need to understand what Paul means by “and so all Israel shall be saved,” as interpreters are divided over just about every word of this much disputed phrase.
All is made clear if we understand Paul’s meaning to be no different than what the prophets understood of the time and nature of Israel’s covenanted salvation. A-millennialism and all forms of so-called replacement interpretations depend on showing that the New Testament justifies a program of ‘reinterpretation’ of Israel’s hope in contrast to its original Old Testament context and meaning. So what does Paul mean by ‘all Israel’? And what remains future as required by “My covenant unto them?” In order to understand Paul’s view of the covenant and its relation to the mystery that he delineates in Romans 11; we need to see what the salvation of ‘all Israel’ would have meant to Jeremiah and the prophets. It is my view that Paul’s meaning is the same. A mystery has come to light (Ro 11:25), but the essential foreview of the prophets concerning the goal of the covenant as it pertains to Israel remains unchanged.
If interpreted literally, the language of the covenant points to the time when there will be no Jewish inhabitant left on earth that does not know the Lord. This means that there will be no further need for evangelism among the Jews, since “from the day and forward” (Ezek 39:22), “they shall all know Me, from the least to the greatest.” It is the end of the remnant and the birth of an entirely regenerate nation (Isa 66:8; Ezek 39:22-29). The following is a sample of the language that the prophets use to depict the goal of the covenant in the salvation of “all Israel.”
“In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remains in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning” (Isa 4:2-4; cf. also Zech 13:8-9).
“And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (Isa 54:13).
“As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever” (Isa 59:21).
“Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified” (Isa 60:21).
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer 31:34).
“And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me” (Jer 32:39-40).
“Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which cause them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there” (Ezek 39:28).
The promise of the New / Everlasting Covenant depicts a transformation that enables the entirety of the Jewish nation to keep the Land through the revelation of the righteousness of God in Christ. The promise of a new spirit and the bringing in of an “everlasting righteousness” (compare Jer 32:40; Dan 9:24) must be established, not with only part, but with “all the seed of Israel” (Isa 45:25) in order secure everlasting continuance in the Land. Only an “everlasting righteousness” that extends to children’s children (Isa 54:13; 59:21; 61:9; 66:22) is sufficient to guarantee the conditions by which the Land can be inherited forever. Only when Israel’s continual tendency to backslide has been forever cured will the Land can be sure of abiding inheritance.
So the salvation of ‘all Israel’ is necessary in order to inherit the Land forever. This is the goal and logic of the covenant. It is manifestly what Paul has in mind in his use of the phrase, “all Israel.” Nothing like this has ever existed in history, as most commentators have tended to transfer this astonishing circumstance to the heavenly state of final glorification, or to the mystical invisible church (the truly regenerate), as in Reformed theology.
The covenant must be understood in keeping with the revelation of the mystery of Christ’s twofold advent. The still future salvation of Israel is based on the same covenant that stands now with the church. It is not a different covenant, but, like the messianic salvation, it is fulfilled in not one, but two distinct installments. This means that although the NC has been eternally ratified in the death and resurrection of Christ, it has a further appointment in history when it will be openly and tangibly vindicated in the restoration of Israel. Indeed, the public vindication of the covenant in the national salvation of all Israel in history is the principal purpose for the millennium.
To appreciate the historical goal of the covenant as the millennial salvation of ‘all Israel,’ we need to see what is entailed in what Jeremiah and the prophets call, “the everlasting covenant” (Gen 17:7, 19; 1Chron 16:17; Isa 61:8-9; Jer 32:40; Ezek 37:26). The thinking of the prophets cannot be understood apart from their reading of the covenant as it pertains to the Land. The relationship of Israel to the Land is decisive for our understanding of the everlasting covenant. This is why many interpreters opting for a spiritual interpretation of both the Land and Israel, look for the goal of the covenant either in the invisible church or beyond history. However, if we see Israel’s final inheritance of the Land as an intrinsic and inalienable feature of the ‘everlasting covenant,’ we can also see the great problem that this created for its fulfillment, a problem that is only resolved by the concept that the later prophets would develop of an apocalyptic day of the Lord.
To appreciate the glory of the covenant, and the transforming power of the eschatological day of the Lord, we need to understand the ‘dilemma of the covenant.’ Just as the ongoing unbelief of Israel presented a problem for the early church, so the extravagant promises of God’s covenant with the Patriarchs presented an insoluble problem. The dilemma of the covenant was this: How do a people that history has shown to be chronically prone to backslide ever attain to a sufficient degree of national righteousness as to assure permanence in the Land?
History has shown the odds of this ever happening. Even when Israel’s tenure in the Land might be extended by an occasional revival or reform, by and by the revival would fade, and the righteous remnant would go into exile along with the rest of the backsliding nation. Therefore, only the bringing in of an “everlasting righteousness” (Jer 32:40; Dan 9:24) could be sufficient to secure abiding continuance in the Land as required to meet the conditions of covenant fulfillment. [Note: In utter despair of Israel’s ability to attain to abiding covenant fidelity apart from the gift of a new heart (Deut 29:4), Moses anticipates the NC by predicting a future divine act whereby the hearts of all the people would be circumcised in order to inherit the Land forever (Deut 30:6). Moses knew this heart for himself, but he also knew that the nation could never prolong its stay in the Land until the all of the people would have a heart of covenant love, i.e., the indwelling of the divine nature. Sharing the same pessimism concerning ‘what is in man’ (Jer 13:23; 17:9), the prophets cannot conceive of such a transformation apart from a supernatural act of divine intervention at the end.]
Moreover, if even the righteous are subject to persecution and tribulation during this present evil age, how does an entire nation “lie down in safety so that none make them afraid?” How does a small agrarian nation wedged between Gentile superpowers rest in everlasting safety? The prophets, never conceiving of spiritualizing the promise of the elect Land and people, understood that the conditions necessary to fulfill the covenant of everlasting peace in the Land could only be established by the supernatural intervention of an apocalyptic ‘day of the Lord’.
At the day of the Lord, the power of the Gentile oppressor is broken forever (Jer 30:8; Dan 7:11; 11:45). But through the great tribulation leading up to the day of the Lord, Israel is also emptied of the ‘power’ of self-sufficiency (compare Deut 4:30; 32:36; Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1, 7). At the tribulation’s end, the nation is “born at once … in one day” (Isa 66:8; Ezek 39:22; Zech 3:9), as the Jewish survivors receive the revelation of the One whom the nation pierced (Zech 12:10). At this time, the Spirit is poured out upon the remnant (compare Isa 4:3; Jer 31:2; Zech 13:8-9; Isa 32:15; 44:3; 59:21; Ezek 39:29; Joel 2:28; Zech 12:10). [Note: Lest the prerequisite of a willing disposition of heart be seen as an impregnable deterrent to the establishment of the covenant with a chronically rebellious nation, the scripture anticipates this as a sovereign divine initiative, “thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power” (Ps 110:3). Also, “thou shalt arise and have mercy on Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the ‘set time’, has come (Ps 102:13).]
Although forgiveness and regeneration by the Spirit was always available to any individual who turns to God in repentance, this can never accomplish the conditions required to fulfill the covenant as touching the nation as a whole. In David’s prayer, all the language of renewal and re-creation is employed as readily available to any penitent individual.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps 51:10).
David was no stranger to the law within the heart (Ps 40:8), nor were the Patriarchs or the prophets unacquainted with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ex 31:3; Num 27:18; Isa 63:11; Dan 4:8; Neh 9:30; 1Pet 1:11). Regeneration by the quickened Word is not original to the New Testament’s concept of being ‘born again … by the Word of God” (Ps 119:25; 1Pet 1:23).
Jesus reprimands Nicodemus for not recognizing the self-evident necessity of spiritual renewal. As a teacher in Israel, Nicodemus should have known that if all the prophets showed that Israel will remain spiritually dead until the appointed time of national washing and re-creation (Isa 57:19; 65:18; Ezek 36:25-28; 37:14, 23; 39:29; Zech 12:10), and if the nation must be “born” by the Spirit before it can inherit the kingdom (see Isa 66:8), can it be different for individuals? Nicodemus’ failure to ‘connect the dots,’ so to speak, makes good sense of the Lord’s perhaps not so gentle reprimand, “Are you the teacher in Israel and do not understand these things?” (Jn 3:10). Though the particular words, “born again” were not used of the individual; the necessity of spiritual regeneration by the Word and Spirit is axiomatic in the OT, as shown by such expressions as the ‘circumcision of the heart’ (Lev 26:41; Deut 10:16; 30:6; Jer 4:4; 6:10; 9:26; Ezek 44:7; Acts 7:51). Even the ‘pouring out’ of the Spirit was possible to the penitent individual (Prov 1:23).
So the final goal of the covenant is not personal regeneration; it is the salvation of “all Israel.” “From that day and forward” (Ezek 39:22), there will be no more remnant, because the surviving remnant becomes a nation “born at once … in one day” (Isa 66:8; Zech 3:9), never to depart again. ‘That day’ is the ‘day of the Lord,’ which follows the stellar darkness that follows the “tribulation of those days” (Joel 2:30-32; 3: 115-18, 20-21 w/ Mt 24:21, 29).
The blessing of eternal salvation and undisturbed tranquility in the Land is assured unfailing continuance because the covenant extends to every child born to Jewish parentage from that time and forward (see Isa 54:13; 59:21; 61:9; 66:22). [Note: This is not, however, the story among the nations. While there will be great evangelism among the nations, salvation will not be uniform as in the case of the newly born nation of the Jews. Christ’s millennial rule is depicted as a ‘rod of iron’ (Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15). This suggests a ‘mixed multitude’ among the nations that will not yield voluntary compliance (see Isa 26:10; Zech 14:17-18; Rev 20:7-9). This stands in marked contrast to the kind of uniform salvation that exists among the Jews dwelling in the Land.]
This is astounding! History has never seen its like. The language of the Everlasting (New) covenant is simply too extravagant and miraculous for many to conceive of a literal fulfillment. But there it is! That is the tenor of the words of the covenant. It is no wonder that most commentators tend to transfer such language to a heavenly fulfillment. But this is just one of the many-splendored glories of the covenant. The Everlasting Covenant concerning the seed / Seed and the Land must pass through the royal lineage of David (2Sam 23:5; Isa 55:3).
This is the heart and the mystery of the covenant and its highest glory. It is the glory of “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jer 23:5), as the very righteousness of God perfected in the humanity of Messiah as the ‘fulfiller of all righteousness’ (Mt 3:15; Ro 3:25-26; Phil 3:9). It is the imputation of Christ’s righteousness that justifies the believing sinner. It is the mystery of the messianic atonement, as God employs the curse itself and the nation’s crowing offense (Hos 5:15) to lay the foundation of eternal salvation in “the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Heb 13:20). “For this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Mt 26:28).
So while the covenant extends to millennial Israel and beyond, it also reaches back to the origins of the mediator from David’s House (Isa 9:6-7; Mic 5:2; Heb 7:3; 9:15). It is the covenant of the Surety’s blood, by which all forgiveness of all time is secured, whether before or after the cross. In this sense, it is ‘the covenant of regeneration,’ and is thus ‘everlasting’ in both directions through Christ as the Alpha and the Omega of all redemption of all time (see Rev 13:8).
[Note: Today we understand the covenant of Sinai as the first in its relationship to the New Covenant as its successor. But the Sinaitic covenant was certainly not the first in the order of covenants. The New Covenant is the eschatological fulfillment of the earlier unconditional covenant made with Abraham. It is not that the NC cancels the conditions of the Sinaitic covenant, but it provides for the fulfillment of those conditions, first in Christ as fulfilling the required righteousness in our representative humanity and so providing atonement, but also internally in the believer through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thus it is really God alone who fulfills the covenant. It is the mystery of incarnation, first and ultimately in Christ, but also in the believer through the Spirit’s indwelling.]
This means that the time of fulfillment that was formerly associated almost entirely with the post-tribulational day of the Lord (Isa 34:8; 59:19-21; Ezek 39:22; Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Joel 2:31-32; 3:14-17; Zech 12:2-3; 9-13:1; 14:1-9) can now be seen in two mighty visitations of transforming power in keeping with the revelation of the mystery of Christ’s twofold advent. The revelation of the gospel has introduced a new tension between the ‘already’ of an inaugurated eschatology of partial fulfillment (‘first-fruits’), and the ‘not yet’ of a greater and more complete fulfillment at Christ’s return. It is the same with the covenant.
The prophets see the salvation of Israel always in terms of an apocalyptic end. The line of demarcation between ‘this present evil age’ and the ‘age to come’ was always understood in terms of an apocalyptic day of the Lord. It was rightly expected that the New Covenant would not be established with ‘all’ Israel until AFTER the last tribulation of Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Isa 59:21; 66:8; Ezek 39:22 et al). This dominant expectation helped to form the background for what Jesus would call the ‘mystery of the kingdom,’ and what Paul will later call ‘the mystery of the gospel’ (Eph 6:19), introducing the idea of a two stage fulfillment.
The mystery reveals that the salvation of the coming ‘day’ has appeared already in unexpected advance of ‘that day’ (the post-tribulational day of the Lord). It has shown that the eternal foundation of the New Covenant must first be laid in Messiah’s atoning sacrifice, “the blood of the everlasting covenant,” as the only basis for the ‘everlasting righteousness,’ as pledged in the New Covenant (compare Isa 45:17; Jer 23:5 w/ 32:40; Dan 9:24-26; Isa 52:13-53:12; Zech 12:10). [Note: Since this was the goal of the covenant, the gospel reveals the mystery of God’s hidden plan to provide this ‘everlasting righteousness,’ “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed.” The gospel reveals that the everlasting righteousness promised to Israel is the very righteousness of God Himself incarnate in the Son of David (Jer 23:5; Mt 22:41-46). However, through the revelation of the mystery we learn that ‘the Spirit that quickens’ the sinner now is the same Spirit of Christ (Eph 2:1; Ro 8:9) that has always quickened and indwelt the righteous (1Pet 1:11), since His is the only acceptable righteousness of anyone at any time.]
Though completely foretold in the prophets (Acts 26:22), the gospel was a sealed mystery until the appointed time of fulfillment and revelation (compare Isa 8:14-17; Ro 16:25-26; 1Cor 2:8; 1Pet 1:9-12). A comparison of texts will show that the ‘secret testimony’ that has now been revealed to the church (‘my disciples’) is ‘SHUT UP’ and ‘SEALED’ (Isa 8:14-17; Dan 9:24; 12:4) from the rest of Israel UNTIL the day of the Lord when God’s face will no more hidden from the erring nation (compare Isa 8:17 w/ Ezek 39:29). Notably, the regenerating revelation of the gospel (“‘they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced”), which ends the time that God’s face is hidden from Israel, comes when the Spirit is poured out (Ezek 39:29; Zech 12:10). So the pouring out of the Spirit at the day of the Lord is the end of the hiding of God’s face from the nation forever. Although Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, the veil is not removed for the nation until the last day (Zech 12:10 w/ Mt 23:39; Acts 3:21; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7).
At the end of Jacob’s trouble, after the nation has been reduced to a third of its former population (compare Isa 4:2-3; Ezek 20:38; Amos 9:10; with Zech 13:8-9), the apocalyptic revelation of the gospel that now defines the church will break upon the surviving remnant. This is the promised birth of the nation that comes suddenly (‘at once … in one day’; Isa 66:8; Zech 3:9 w/ Ezek 39:22). The time in view is clearly the day of the Lord, and not May 14, 1948. “From that day and forward” (Ezek 39:22) ‘all’ Israel will know the Lord, and not before! So to argue that the coming of the Deliverer is the first coming of Christ is to deny the apparent temporal connection between the coming of the Deliverer and the ‘fullness of the Gentiles” (Ro 11:25-26). This is the tact that must be taken if the replacement view is to be maintained. Is it exegetically tenable? No; it is not! It relocates an event that is clearly associated with the day of the Lord in its Old Testament context, and places it at the first coming of Christ. One might say that all ‘replacement’ theology depends on this ‘misplacement’ of the day of the Lord.
If the time of Israel’s restoration is indeed the day of the Lord, then the time could hardly be more definite and certain. So there can be no reticence about the how and the when of Israel’s national salvation. There is great difference among interpreters, but it all hangs on the question of when the Deliverer comes to “turn ungodliness from Jacob” (Ro 11:26). An examination of the contexts of the passages that Paul combines in his citation (e.g., Isa 27:9; 59:20-21; Jer 31:34) will show that this is not in reference to Christ’s first coming, but describes conditions that are everywhere associated with the day of the Lord, which according to the New Testament is the time of Christ’s return. So Israel returns when Christ returns.
In every instance, the day of the Lord is always depicted as the climax of an unequaled tribulation that ends with nothing short of personal and national resurrection (compare Isa 26:16-21; Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1-2, 13; also Mt 24:21-31; Ro 11:15). This is pivotal point worthy of all notice. Furthermore, Paul’s reference to the coming in of the ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ (11:25) coincides with the Lord’s prediction that “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Lk 21:24). [Note: The precise term, “the time of the Gentiles” is found in Ezek 30:3 where it is distinctly called ‘the day of the Lord.’]
Let me state the obvious by reminding us that the ‘day of the Lord’ is understood in the New Testament as still future (Acts 3:21; 1Thes 5:2; 2Thes 2:2-3, 8, 2Pet 3:10; Rev 16:14 et al). This would seem to at least leave open the question of Israel for our replacement minded friends. However, many assume on the basis of the partially ‘realized’ eschatology of the New Testament that nothing remains for Israel as a distinct ethnic entity. We have taken the partially ‘realized’ eschatology of the mystery as a pretext for an unnecessary and unjustified program of re-interpretation. This is a false choice. It is not ‘either or,’ but ‘both and.’
I say this because many interpreters want to treat all the OT references to Israel’s future salvation’ as already and finally fulfilled in the New Covenant by the church. But the ‘already’ of covenant fulfillment in Christ does nothing to cancel (or modify) a yet future (day of the Lord) fulfillment in the salvation of ‘all’ Israel. As shown above, the surviving remnant of the last tribulation is transformed into a born again nation (Isa 66:8) at the day of the Lord. This is accomplished by the same Spirit of revelation (Zech 12:10-13:1) that presently distinguishes the church as the first-fruits of the promised salvation of Israel.
Why would such a future day of the Lord fulfillment for Israel be necessary if the church is the true Israel of God with whom the New / Everlasting covenant has already been finally established? If Peter can call the church a ‘holy nation’, does this mean that the goal of the covenant has been finally realized by the church? If only a spiritual fulfillment is in view as in replacement thought, how do we account for Paul’s insistence on a future re-engraftment of the ‘natural branches’? It is not enough to acknowledge that there will be a future time of re-engraftment and Jewish ‘fullness’ (Ro 11:12), it is critical that we know why this MUST be according to the demands of the covenant.
Unless the covenant has in view a special eschatological act in behalf of the ‘natural branches,’ it is hard to see why Jewish salvation is not already well enough accounted for by the “remnant according to the election of grace.” There is always the ever available “whosever will” of gospel invitation. So if nothing is stopping Jews from entering the church but Jews themselves, why all the fuss about a few more physical Jews being tacked on at the end? What’s the point? (I give my answer in an earlier email response with “Why the Jew?” in the subject title).
However interpreters conceive of the term ‘all Israel,’ it seems clear that for Paul the covenant has not attained its goal so long as Israel remains ‘blinded in part.’ For Paul, the covenant cannot stop short of a future re-engraftment of the ‘natural branches’, who are enemies still beloved. The “Israel” that Paul has in view cannot be understood of the church as the “Israel of God.” That would make convoluted nonsense out of Paul’s insistence on a yet unfulfilled aspect of the covenant “WITH THEM.” Rather, the Israel that Paul has in view is presently blinded ‘in part’, but only temporarily.
There is an ‘UNTIL’ that concerns the ‘natural branches,’ that UNTIL is based on the inviolable terms of the covenant. What is theologically wrong with that? What is exegetically wrong with that? Paul seems to literally ‘go down’ under the weight of the glory of this mystery (Ro 11:33-36). Why don’t we? Can it be because we’ve not yet seen the glory of this covenant that stands not only with Israel but with us who are counted among the present election of grace? Note that our present standing is not only despite Israel’s fall; but according to Paul’s language, it is through Israel’s fall. In some sense, the one is not possible without the other. This is deepest pathos and the glory of a mystery revealed. We may well say in the words of Fanny J. Crosby, “I scarce can take it in!”
The church has, in large part, failed of the mystery that stumbled Israel. I believe that before Israel can return, this mystery and its implications for both Israel and the church must be restored to the church. A great deal depends on the church’s apprehension of this mystery as productive of a corporate identity and travail on Israel’s behalf (Ro 11:31 w/ Gal 4:19). Paul shows clearly that “their fullness” (Ro 11:12) awaits the “fullness of the Gentiles” (Ro 11:25). Could the time of this fullness be related to the ‘UNTIL’ of an eschatological “fullness” that Paul sees for the church in Eph 4:13? Surely the church in its corporate character and identity as “the Servant of the Lord” will be an active agent in Israel’s salvation. Surely the church will have something to do with Israel’s response to the returning Lord, when they shall greet Him with the words, “blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord” (Mt 23:39).
“And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (Dan 12:7 w/ Deut 32:36; Jer 30:7 and Dan 12:1).
There is a glorious logic to the covenant in its many-sided character. Let us pray that we do not fail of the least of it for the sake of Him who delights to reveal His covenant to them who fear Him and His secret to His friends. Reggie