THE COVENANTS WERE BOTH EVERLASTING AND CONDITIONAL
Dr. John Walvoord writes:
"It is important to realize that when the covenant of Abraham was repeated to Isaac and Jacob, no conditions were mentioned. In fact, God's covenant with Isaac came at a time when he was trying to leave the land and was used as a deterrent to keep him in the Promised Land." (Gen. 26:2-5). (Major Prophecies of the Bible p 65).

On the contrary. In the case of Isaac, just as with Abraham, a condition was clearly implied: "Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father" (Gen. 26:3); Although the standard Dispensational formula "IF YE WILL" is not expressly found here, yet a condition is clearly visible. If Jacob had disobeyed, and had not sojourned in the land, how could God have blessed him, and performed the oath to him which he sware to Abraham? How would that have been possible?

Abraham obeyed God's command, and so did Isaac. God fulfilled His promise to them. As for their descendants in the first century A.D., who rejected the Son of God, they too, had the promise fulfilled to them, only not to their liking. The promise was blessing for obedience; just the opposite for disobedience. The blessings would have automatically passed on to the nation of Israel simply because they were the descendents. But it was not unconditional, do what you please. Actually, all they had to do was receive it. They didn't even do that.

Walvoord: "Likewise the covenant was confirmed with Jacob as he was running away from home because of Esau (27:41-43). He also received the covenant promise without conditions. (28:13-15)" (IBID p 65).

Again, the facts are a little different from what Dr. Walvoord perceives them to be. Jacob was not "running away from home," but rather was planning to be out of sight for only a few days until his brother's anger subsided. I am guessing that, because he wasn't going to be gone permanently, God apparently did not see the need to command him to remain in the land when He repeated the Abrahamic covenant.

Because the covenants repeated to Isaac and Jacob only seemed to be without condition, it should not be assumed that the nation of Israel was guaranteed the blessings unconditionally. The Palestinian Covenant, later made with the nation itself, promised blessings if she obeyed, but terrible judgements, even total annihilation, if she didn't. This covenant is very troubling to Dispensationalists.

The Palestinian Covenant is found in Deuteronomy chapter 30, the entire chapter, verses 1 thru 20. It is interesting that Dispensationalists, probably taking their cue from Scofield's Reference Bible (see his footnote, page 250), arbitrarily select only the first nine verses, and try to ignore as best they can the remainder of the covenant. That's because in verses 1 thru nine, God informs Israelites of all the blessings that will come upon the nation when they obey His Word. But from verse 10 on, there is the big "IF" which shouldn't be found in any unconditional covenant.

"If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul" (Deut 30:10).

"See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil" (Deut 30:15);

"In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it" (Deut 30:16).

"But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them" (Deut 30:17);

"I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it" (Deut 30:18).

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deut 30:19):

To make this covenant an unconditional covenant is an impossible stretch. That explains the Dispensational blanket of silence over the second half. If we understand the English language at all, the entire chapter is perfectly in context. Separating the first nine verses from the rest betrays questionable motives. Verses 10 thru 20 definitely reveal a condition in this covenant. Israel is given a choice. God beckons them to choose life, that they and their descendants may live and possess the land.

"EVERLASTING" IS NOT NECESSARILY "UNCONDITIONAL"
Dr Walvoord writes: "When the Abrahamic covenant is repeated subsequent to its original revelation, it is declared to be eternal and, therefore, necessarily unconditional (Gen.17:7,13,19, 1 Chron. 16:16-17; Ps. 105:9-10) (IBID, pp 64-65).

Dr Walvoord fails to notice all the "fine print" in Genesis 17:7.

"And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee" (Gen. 17:7).

"In THEIR generations is an important distinction. The NIV misses the mark with, "...and your descendants after you for the generations to come" The NIV is misleading, making it appear that the covenant is everlasting for all generations to come, which is wrong. (the use of modern translations is the source of many faulty conclusions by today's biblical elite) THEIR generations refers to those generations of Israelites that were genuinely God's people, under the Mosaic Law.

"It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations" (Exod 12:42).

"In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel" (Exod 27:21). We shouldn't be tripped up by the "for ever" in this verse. It can easily be shown that "for ever" in Scripture does not always mean "for all eternity." In this case, for ever lasted only for the duration of these generations.

"So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations" (Exod 30:21).

"Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant" (Exod 31:16).

"So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations" (Exod 30:21).

Those generations didn't last for all eternity. They ended at the cross. The time of Christ on earth 2000 years ago saw the terminal generation of the Mosaic system, and, consequently, Israel and the Israelites.

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Col. 2:14);

"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us " (Eph. 2:14);

"Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace" (Eph.2:15);

"And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby" (Eph.2:16):

Both Jews and Gentiles have been reconciled unto God in one body, the Church. These verses show that by the cross Christ abolished all differences between Jews and Gentiles, making of them both one nation. So from the time of Christ onward, Jews and Gentiles are one and the same. There is the mistaken notion even among Christians that "Jew" is an ethnic term. It is not. It is a religious designation. Israelites were not originally known as "Jews." Abraham, the father of all Jews was, in fact, was a Mesopotamian Gentile. Some Christian organizations to this day believe that Jews have a continuous, special covenant relationship with God. Some even go so far as to prevent their members from witnessing to the people who call themselves "Jews." I believe that this is perhaps the worst of all acts of Antisemitism - oddly enough - not against Jews, but against a class of Gentiles who only think they are Jews.

Jews lost their Jewish distinctiveness when God concluded them all in unbelief (Romans 11:32). Again, modern translations generate ignorance among Christians with their confused rendering of Scripture verses, as the NIV: "For God bound all men over to disobedience, so that he may have mercy on them all." Equally absurd is the NASV's "For God has shut up all men in disobedience the He might show mercy to all." These Bibles leave us with the impression that God caused all men to be disobedient just so that He could show mercy to them. That is ridiculous. Whenever God wants to show mercy, He doesn't have to bound anyone over to disobedience, He can find all the disobedient people He needs, "ready made" so to speak.

That is not what Romans 11:32 is about. First of all, the context show that Paul was writing about Jews when he wrote that God concluded THEM all in unbelief (not disobedience). Unbelief is that spiritual state that all Gentiles are born in. He concluded all Jews in unbelief, the good, the bad, and the ugly. By that He didn't cause anyone to become disobedient, He simply removed their special status which made them children of God from birth. After that, everyone, Gentile and former Jew alike, could come to the Father, but only through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no other way. The second "ALL" in Romans 11:32 means all mankind, both "Jew" and Gentile. Gentiles would no longer have to come to the Jews and go through any kind of ritual or procedure to be saved (John 4:22).

And Jews, some of which may have thought themselves to be spiritually superior to Gentiles, now had to be born again. The term, "born again," interestingly, means just what it says, and it applied exclusively to the Jews. It speaks of spiritual rebirth, and has nothing to do with physical birth. In the past Jews were from physical birth the children of God, spiritually born, so to speak. Paul so indicates: "We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal. 2:15-16).

He says that "even we (Jews) have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ..." Paul was a Jew by nature, a Jew among Jews, not a sinner of the Gentiles. But he, too, had been concluded in unbelief, and even he could not be justified except by faith in Christ. It is obvious, then, that somewhere along the way he lost his birthright, and had to be born again. We Gentile Christians, in ignorance, have adopted the phrase "born again," even though it does not apply to us. Unlike the Jews, we have never been spiritually born in the first place until we came to Jesus by faith. So we couldn't be "born again."

Peter also realized that the Lord Jesus Christ brought him, a Jew, to life again: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pet 1:3), He says "again," revealing that he must have lived before, and then was dead. And Jesus Christ brought him back to life again. He was "born again." And since Peter, to our knowledge, had not physically died before, this reference to having been "begotten again" had to be spiritual, not physical.

A COVENANT CAN BE EVERLASTING,
AND STILL NOT BE UNCONDITIONAL

"And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God" (Gen. 17:8).

"And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations" (Gen. 17:9).

The covenant was conditional AND everlasting. Had Israel obeyed God, He would have been faithful to keep that covenant with them to a thousand generations, meaning, no doubt, for all eternity.

"Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations" (Deut 7:9);

The key phrase here is "them that love Him and keep His commandments."

How interesting that Dispensationalists who's theme song seems to be "literal interpretation," allow only a paltry thousand year "Millennium" for the Jews to enjoy their own land as a fulfillment of God's promise to them, when in reality He promised them a Kingdom for a thousand generations.

"Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant" (Ezek 16:60).

This was written in the future tense, i.e., "I will remember..." Dispensationalists seize upon that as meaning future to our time, not realizing, it appears, that Ezekiel wrote that prophecy several hundred years before the time of Christ. Jesus came to confirm that covenant with His people 2000 years ago. Those people didn't have to do anything but accept it. They refused, and of course, as with salvation, God didn't force it upon them. They lost big time - past tense! "Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant" (Ezek 16:61). "And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD" (Ezek 16:62): "That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD" (Ezek 16:63). You will notice that, almost right up to the cross, God maintained a positive attitude toward Israel, not pronouncing any judgement for disobedience and unbelief, always offering His promise up to the last minute, as if He expected them to repent and accept His offer at any moment. It seems that only a few prophets were given to know what Israel would finally do. Remember in Luke 4:18, at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus quoted Isaiah's prophecy: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).

Dispensationalists make a big deal of Christ not completely quoting Isaiah, leaving off the all important "...day of vengeance of our Lord..." They believe that vengeance upon the Jews will not happen until He returns in judgement at the Second Coming. Misinterpretations such as this have served to build up the futuristic theory that God will judge Israel's unbelief in the faroff future, at Christ's Second Coming. In arriving at this doctrine, our scholars have missed some very important and relevant Scriptures along the way. The Lord Jesus Christ did not wait until His Second Coming to finish reading Isaiah. "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled" (Luke 21:22). He finished reading that important part of Isaiah when he prophesied of the coming invasion by Rome in A.D.70, after Israel had rejected and crucified their King, the Son of God. God knows how to schedule events so that justice is done where justice belongs. If He had left such decisions to Dispensationalists, a generation of "Jews" 2000 years or more after the fact, who have never seen first hand the miracles of Jesus, would pay for the sins of their fathers. In fact, as we have seen, they aren't even Jews any more, even though they themselves don't know it. But even as far back as the Old Testament, God declared that every man shall die for his own sins; the father shall not be judged for the sins of the children, and likewise, the children shall not die for the sins of the fathers. The judgement of God came upon that very generation of the unbelievers of Israel that was guilty, no one else. And most importantly, God gave them at least thirty five years to repent and come to Christ and be saved. Even those who had a hand in crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ could have escaped the holocaust which would take place in Jerusalem in A.D.70.


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