by Bro. K.D. Ward
While allowing for some variance of interpretation of Scripture in dealing with Covenant Theology, it is important that we agree at least on certain basics which help to define a workable model in sustaining a continuity of the Scriptures. We recognize room for speculation, but there is a need to agree on certain scriptural LANDMARKS. Therefore, the following is an effort to set forth some important fundamentals to discover those landmarks.
First of all, it should be stated that covenant theology and the “covenant relationship,” does not affect God’s plan of salvation from the judgment of hell, for it is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Jesus became the atoning sacrifice for sin for mankind. “He is the propitiation [sacrifice] for our sins [the elect]; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
Then what exactly is covenant theology? Covenant theology is a model of biblical interpretation which emphasizes the unity of all the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments. Under this model, the Bible is seen as emphasizing conditional promises made between a covenant-keeping God and a covenant people (Deuteronomy 7:9).
The covenant-theology approach views the Bible as a whole unit with a singular objective. This singular objective is to establish an everlasting kingdom “under the whole heaven” (Daniel 7:27). His kingdom will “fill the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35). The kingdoms of “this world” will become Christ’s kingdom (Revelation 11:15). God will be king over “all the earth” (Zechariah 14:9).
God’s covenant promises and kingdom-objective find their roots in what the Bible terms as the “everlasting covenant” — the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 17:7). Such is why the apostle Paul emphasized to New Testament churches that they were [by covenant] the recipients of the blessing and promises of Abraham (Galatians 3:14). “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29; see also Galatians 5:24).
Under the covenant model, Jerusalem [Zion] is seen as the seat [throne] of His kingdom from which Christ will reign over the nations of the world for ever (Zechariah 1:17b; Isaiah 2:3b ; Hebrews 12:22,23 ; Revelation 14:1-5).
Covenant theology sets forth the concept that God’s purpose has been to provide an inheritance (Acts 26:18) for a peculiar [covenant] people (Exodus 19:5,6 ; 1 Peter 2:9) who remain faithful to Him…who are zealous of good works (Titus 2:14). This inheritance for the peculiar people [the overcomers] includes having the “power [authority] over the nations” in the kingdom (Revelation 2:26,27).
Covenant theology not only includes the concept of a King…a territory…a government…and an inheritance, but likewise includes a subject people. Thus, saved people [the nations outside of covenant fellowship] are seen dwelling in the outer regions of the kingdom (the earth) with limited blessings (allotments).
“Everyone shall sit under his own vine and under his fig tree” (Micah 4:4).
Zechariah stated, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts and to keep the feast of Tabernacles [harvest]” (Zechariah 14:16,17).
These subject-nations have an important part of God’s eternal purpose in that they will serve, worship and give glory to God (Revelation 15:4 ; Daniel 7:14,27 ; Psalm 86:9 ; Psalm 82:8 ; Psalm 22:27,28).
The kings of the earth [who are given authority over the cities of the nations (Luke 19:17) will bring the glory and honor (worship) of the nations into the city (Revelation 21:24); the nations are not permitted access into the city itself (Revelation 22:14).
Thus, the covenant theology model seeks to demonstrate that God’s eternal purpose is multi-dimensional in that it embraces not only a group of servant-kings who qualify to reign with Christ (Revelation 5:10 ; Revelation 22:3-5), but also includes many servant-nations who will be subjected to His supreme authority. These servant-nations are indeed saved, justified and redeemed “freely by His grace” (Romans 3:24). These, however, did not obtain to the ultimate dimension of salvation and justification of the life (2 Timothy 2:10 ; James 2:24).