As Jesus completed his last Passover meal with his disciples, he took the final cup and said, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20). Matthew records that he said the cup represented his blood, shed, "for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:28). These words are too often ignored.
In Jeremiah 31:31f, God promised Israel that He would establish a New Covenant with them, in the last days, and in that New Covenant, they would find forgiveness of sin, something the Old Law could never provide.
Jesus appeared in the last days, the very days when God was to make His New Covenant with Israel (Hebrews 1:1). Further, Jesus came to, "confirm the promises made to the fathers" (Romans 15:8), the fathers of Israel. Thus, when Jesus told his disciples that the cup represented his blood, that he was shedding to establish the New Covenant, this was wonderfully significant! By the way, the Greek text does say "the (definite article) New Covenant." Jesus was not establishing "a New Covenant." He was fulfilling the promise of Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 37, and other OT prophecies of the New Covenant.
Unfortunately, there are some who tell us that the New Covenant established by Jesus’ death is not the New Covenant promised by Jeremiah. We are told that what Jesus established was the Gospel of Grace, not the Covenant with Israel, and it is the Covenant with Israel that Jeremiah promised. Well, there are several things to consider here.
First, as seen, Jesus did come to fulfill the promises to Israel, and one of those promises was that of the New Covenant.
Second, the New Covenant that Jesus established was made with Israel, for on Pentecost, there were Jews there from "every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5f), and the obedient entered that day into a Covenant relationship with the Messiah.
Third, the New Covenant that Jesus died to establish does precisely what Jeremiah’s promised New Covenant was to do — bring the forgiveness of sin. Further, it is written precisely where Jeremiah’s promised New Covenant was to be written, in the heart (2 Corinthians 3:3f).
Fourth, all covenants had to be sealed with blood. The Mosaic Covenant was sealed with the sprinkling of the blood of animals (Exodus 24). The New Covenant of Jesus was sealed by his blood (Hebrews 9:15f).
Remember, according to those who say that the Gospel is not the promised New Covenant of Jeremiah, Jesus’ death was not for the purpose of establishing the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah. According to the millennialists, nothing to do with the church is predicted or even anticipated anywhere in the Old Testament. This can only mean one thing. Since Jesus died to purchase the church (Acts 20:28), and, thus, the Gospel of Grace, and since the church and Israel must be kept distinct in all aspects, per the millennialists, it is manifestly clear that Jesus’ death could not have been to purchase the New Covenant promised by Jeremiah.
This is a critically important issue! Whose blood will establish the New Covenant of the millennium? I have never heard or read a millennial writer address this critical issue, and, yet, it must be answered. The promised New Covenant of Jeremiah cannot simply materialize out of thin air, and it must be consecrated by blood. Without the shedding of blood there can be no covenant, and there can be no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22).
Jeremiah promised that the New Covenant would offer the forgiveness of sin. However, the blood of bulls and goats cannot offer that forgiveness, and Jesus cannot die to establish another New Covenant. Thus, we ask again, whose blood will sanctify the New Millennium Covenant, and how will it offer forgiveness? If it is a covenant of animal sacrifice — and even the millennialists admit that animal sacrifices will be reinstituted in the millennium — it cannot offer forgiveness and redemption. However, again, that proposed New Covenant cannot be established on the blood of Jesus without him dying again, because his first death definitely was not for the purpose of establishing the Jeremaic Covenant.
Now since, per the millennialists, Jesus’ passion purchased the Gospel of Grace and not the Jeremiac covenant, it is clear that the blood of Jesus cannot have been to purchase two New Covenants. He did not say, "This is my blood of the New Covenants!" His blood purchased one covenant, and one covenant alone, the Gospel. Thus, we ask again, whose blood, or what blood, will purchase the Covenant of Jeremiah? If it is the blood of animals, then undeniably the Millennial Covenant will be inferior to the Gospel of Jesus. Why would God establish another Covenant so patently inferior to the blood-bought, eternal covenant of the Messiah?
If Jesus did not die to establish the Jeremaic Covenant, then his blood cannot be extrapolated to consecrate that future covenant. Since the blood of animals would not qualify to establish the Millennial Covenant, on account of their inferiority, then, I ask again, will Jesus have to die again, to establish the Millennial Covenant? This question must be answered by all those who insist that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not the fulfillment of Jeremiah.
There is only one way for God to establish another covenant in the future, and that is to abrogate the Gospel of Jesus. The Gospel of Jesus annulled the significance of the Land, the City of Jerusalem, animal sacrifices, and circumcision. Yet, according to the millennialists, the Land once again takes center stage in the millennium. The City of Jerusalem is the capital of the world. Animal sacrifices are required, not only of the Jews, but of the world, and circumcision is bound on Jew and Gentile alike.
Paul said however, that the imposition of circumcision and those Old Covenant tenets, demanded full compliance with the Mosaic Law, and further, he said that observance of those things nullified the benefits of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 5:1-6). Thus, if circumcision is re-instituted, the Gospel has to be abrogated. Is that what the promised New Covenant of Jeremiah is to do?
The problem is that while the Old Covenant was to pass (Galatians 3:23f), the Gospel System of Jesus will never pass away (Matthew 24:35; Ephesians 3:20-21). Christ’s Gospel will never give way to another Covenant! It is immoveable (Hebrews 12:26-28).
In sum then, here are the facts once again. Jeremiah promised a New Covenant, one that would be made with Israel, and that New Covenant would offer the forgiveness of sin. Jesus, God’s Messiah to Israel, shed his blood to establish “the new covenant” and his New Covenant offers the forgiveness of sin, just as Jeremiah promised.
The suggestion that the New Covenant of Christ is not the New Covenant promised by Jeremiah demands some answers to questions that the millennial camp is not even asking. Whose blood will sanctify the New Covenant of the Millennium? It cannot be the blood of bulls and goats because a covenant based on the blood of animals cannot forgive sin. That is one of the very reasons Jehovah promised a New Covenant in the first place (Hebrews 8:6f).
According to our millennial friends, Jesus did not shed his blood to establish the Jeremaic Covenant. He died to establish the Gospel of Grace, which is in no way associated with Jeremiah’s promised New Covenant. Since Jesus’ blood was not shed to purchase the Jeremaic Covenant, then, patently, his blood cannot sanctify that Millennial Covenant. However, if Jesus did not shed his blood to purchase that Covenant, whose blood will purchase it? Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness, but the blood of bulls and goats will not suffice.
The only way for a Millennial Covenant to offer forgiveness of sin is for that Covenant to be a covenant equal to, or superior to the Covenant of Jesus Christ, the Gospel! However, to establish a Covenant equal to the Gospel, J
esus would have to die again. And clearly, there could not be a Covenant superior to the Gospel, since it was sanctified with the "blood of Christ, who gave himself, without spot, to purge your conscience from dead works" (Hebrews 9:12f).
The millennial insistence that the Gospel of Jesus is not the promised New Covenant is a rejection of the blood bought Covenant of the Gospel. It impugns his purpose as God’s Messiah to Israel, and says he failed to accomplish what he came to do. The concept of a yet future New Covenant denigrates the value of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Jesus was confirmed with Israel as promised. The New Covenant of Jesus gives exactly what Jeremiah promised.
The New Covenant of Jesus Christ, the Gospel, is the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy. The New Covenant of Christ was purchased and sealed with his precious blood, and offers the forgiveness of sin. To suggest that there is another covenant that is in any way better than — or equal to — the Covenant of Christ is to dishonor the Covenant purchased with his perfect sacrifice.