Covenant and The Mystery #7. From Truth for Today Archives, Aug. 1964-July 1975, by Oscar M. Baker. Seven articles entitled, “Covenant and The Mystery” (From Vol. 22, #9, p..273)
Summary and Conclusion
It was not possible that Gentile believers could partake of the blessings of Israel, (as was the case from Acts 10 to 28) and be in the church of the dispensation of the mystery at the same time. This was made clear in Eph 2:12. That passage tells us when the Gentile believers were grafted into the olive tree and partook of Israel’s blessings, nevertheless they were without Christ, or the Messiah. The reason for it was that by virtue of the fact they were Gentiles made them aliens from the commonwealth of Israel to whom pertained the covenants and the promises. At that time they could know Christ as their Saviour, but not as their Messiah.
Also at that time they had no hope. Hope is here used of a goal or something to look forward to. The hope of Israel was resurrection, King and a kingdom. Gentile believers all had the prospect of a resurrection, but certainly not at the time of Israel’s resurrection, but much later. See Job 13 and compare with Rev. 20:11,12. So the Gentile believers that were grafted in just partook of Israel’s hope. It was not their own by any means.
Furthermore those Gentile believers during Acts were said to be without God in the world. That was because God had given up the Gentile nations (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28) and chosen Israel as a new nation to be His people and said He would be their God. So they, like Ruth the Moabitess, could only say, Thy God shall be my God. God all the way through till Acts 28:28 was the God of Israel. But Gentiles could call upon Him and receive blessings. So did Nebuchadnezzar and others we might mention.
So we are forced to the conclusion that Gentile believers never have had any covenant relationship to God, nor do they now. That was Israel’s sacred property and no individual or church has any right to it.
The Gentile believer today then can make no claim to any covenants of any kind. He cannot be blest by any promises made to any of the OT characters. He is left only to lean on the grace of God, and to benefit by the finished work of the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. The law was given to Israel because of the great transgression (the golden calf).
The law was never given to Gentiles and they were never subject to it, either then or now. The council at Jerusalem realized this great truth (Acts 15), and so with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, sent letters to the churches telling them the Gentiles were not obligated to keep the law in any way. Four things were enjoined upon them which would make their associations with the Jewish believers a little less obnoxious.
Any church or group of believers today who will claim any of the promises given to Abraham, or the covenants or even the law, are simply thieves and robbers. It is such that Paul speaks of as having departed from him, which means they departed from the truth that God by a special dispensation had entrusted to Paul. So we are obliged to conclude that the covenant and the mystery have nothing in common, they do not overlap, and neither do they have the same hope and time of resurrection.