Israel and the New Covenant


"The most serious error in much of the current 'prophetic' teaching of today is the claim that the future of Christendom is to be read not in terms of Revival and Victory, but of growing impotence and apostasy, and that the only hope of the world is that the Lord will by His visible coming and reign complete the task which He has so plainly entrusted to the church... This claim is pessimistic and defeatist. I hold it to be unscriptural. The language of the Great Commission is world-embracing... The duty of the church is to address herself to the achieving of this task in anticipation of her Lord's coming, and not expect Him to call her away to glory before her task in accomplished." --from the Foreword by O.T. Allis

The two great covenants that we call the Old and New Testaments, which are associated with the points in history known as Sinai and Calvary, are the two great mountain peaks of history, of revelation, and of the one true faith. These are the two focal points of this study—subject, of course, to the one supreme fact that the long-promised Messiah, as already come, stands at the center of all history, as well as of biblical revelation.

The divinely ordained covenants of which we read in Holy Scripture must be seen as significant landmarks in the history of the human race; their true place and function in the whole panorama of spiritual redemption must be more clearly understood. The covenants must be seen as the basis of a framework of redemptive revelation into which every vital detail of Scripture will neatly fit.

In these great covenants we are, in short, confronted with transactions and implications of tremendous importance for the church and for the world.

This study, begun during another, earlier period of economic depression, concerns the more practical and historical aspects of the covenants and their bearing upon the closely related subject of Messianic prophecy and its fulfillment. The position taken is that a peaceful and prosperous future for this sin-cursed world cannot be realized until there is a clearer understanding of the covenants and a more consistent application of covenant truth in the everyday life of the Christian and the church.

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Recommendation for Israel and the New Covenant by Gary DeMar:

When I was in seminary, my good friend Lonn Oswalt had this heavily marked-up book. It had a red dust-jacket. I had never heard of its author, Roderick Campbell. Israel and the New Covenant was published in 1954 by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company. It was out of print. I never heard a professor reference it or mention it even though it had a Foreword by the great Old Testament scholar Oswalt T. Allis whose Prophecy and the Church: An Examination of the Claim of Dispensationalists that the Christian Church is a Mystery Parenthesis which Interrupts the Fulfillment of the Kingdom Prophecies of the Old Testament (1945) was on everyone's reading list.

It took me quite a few years to track down an original copy. It was later reprinted by Geneva Divinity School in the 1980s.

Israel and the New Covenant is one of the most insightful books on Bible prophecy you will ever find. It reminds me a lot of David Chilton's Paradise Restored. Cambell is not bound by many of the unquestioned claims of prophecy writers. He is not presenting anything new, and yet what he does claim will seem new to Christians steeped in modern end-time speculation.

Here's the most fascinating thing about Israel and the New Covenant. Campbell was a layman, not a trained theologian. Here's how Allis begins his Foreword: "The author of this valuable contribution to Biblical Interpretation belongs to a class of writers which is not as numerous today as has sometimes been the case, the lay theologian."

That's right, Campbell did not go to seminary. He did not have a degree in biblical studies. What he did have was a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible and access to some of the greatest works on biblical interpretation. It's fascinating to read the footnotes of commentators he quotes and books I have never held in my hands or known about. The footnote references and comments are worth the price of the book.

Why did Campbell undertake this herculean task? He was a businessman. He understood that the Bible was comprehensive in its application. He tells us that Israel and the New Covenant "had its origin in the depression between the two world wars. It began as an effort to learn the cause of the frustration of the Christian world when confronted with the social, industrial, and political confusion of the time."

Sound familiar?

He goes on to write that "the search soon moved away from the realms of economics and politics, for every avenue of approach led to the same naked facts: human, depravity, the necessity of personal spiritual regeneration, the sin that clings to the best of men, the failure of the church in many communities where Christianity once flourished, and the confusion in all sections of Evangelical Protestantism regarding the interpretation of the Sacred Documents of our faith."

Campbell understood that the social, cultural, economic, and political realms could not be reconstructed until a solid theological foundation had been laid. At the time there was little that was available. The Second World war delayed its completion, and because what he had discovered in his studies differed "widely from those which are taught in perhaps the greater number of the local churches of North America" it "called for an intensive search into the literature of the subject which resulted in the collecting of a mass of corroborative support from authors of unquestioned loyalty to the Written Word."

Paperback, 360 pages


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